The Wall Street Journal has reported that North Korean hackers orchestrated the theft of three billion dollars in cryptocurrency to finance the DPRK’s ballistic missile development program.
Large-Scale Theft and Sanctions: North Korean Hackers Target Gaming Company
Among the significant thefts was the appropriation of $600 million from the Vietnamese gaming company, Sky Mavis. The hackers achieved this through the use of a Trojan virus program that was provided to one of the company’s specialists during an interview.
Gaining access to the engineer’s computer, the hackers infiltrated Sky Mavis and pilfered funds from users of the Axie Infinity game. Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm, disclosed that this incident marked the largest North Korean mining operation in the past five years of digital thievery.
The incident has garnered the attention of the White House, prompting US officials and security experts to highlight the country’s growing focus on cyberattacks aimed at monetary gain, coupled with its heightened technical prowess for executing large-scale thefts.
In 2022, officials from the United States, Japan, and South Korea imposed sanctions on individuals responsible for the nuclear program and hackers involved in money laundering and cyberattacks targeting cryptocurrency theft.
The US Treasury Department added three new names to its sanctions list: Yoo Jin, the head of North Korea’s Department of Military Industry; Joon Il Ho, his deputy; and Kim Soo Gil, former head of the Korean People’s Army’s Main Political Bureau. Washington asserts that these individuals played pivotal roles in the development of new missile weaponry.