US Treasury Claims North Korean Weapons Program Is Funded By Crypto’s From Hacking Group Lazarus

The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that North Korean state-sponsored hacking groups attacked critical infrastructure, drawing illicit funds that ultimately funded the country’s weapons and missile programs.

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, states:

“Treasury is taking action against North Korean hacking groups that have been perpetrating cyberattacks to support illicit weapon and missile programs. We will continue to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against North Korea and work with the international community to improve the cybersecurity of financial networks.”

Pro crypto Lazurus Group got called out by the treasury. Earlier this month North Korea denied it stole $2 Billion in cryptos. Of the three groups named today, the name Lazarus Group is sometimes used to describe the entire North Korean cyber-espionage apparatus, but it’s only one of the groups, although, without doubt, the biggest.

The Lazarus Group’s most infamous operations were the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment back in 2014, and the WannaCry ransomware outbreak from May 2016. The financial losses caused by this group are unknown, but their extensive operations make them the most dangerous and well-known of the three.

Consequently, all property and interests in property of these entities, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by the designated entities, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

A crucial piece of this puzzle is understanding the extent to which the online illegal trade simply reflects migration of activity that would have otherwise occurred on the street, versus the alternative that by making illegal goods more accessible, convenient to buy, and less risky due to anonymity, the move online could lead to growth in the aggregate black market.

Countless people across the world were attacked by a malware program that locked their computers and demanded money to unlock, in an attack dubbed WannaCry. The attackers received thousands of dollars in the form of Bitcoin.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

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