North Korean cyberattacks have stolen millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency to fund the country’s missile programs, according to a UN media report.
Between 2020 and mid-2021, cyber attackers stole more than $50 million worth of digital assets, investigators have found.
Such attacks are a “significant source of revenue” for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, they said.
The findings were reportedly submitted to the UN Sanctions Committee on Friday.
The cyberattacks targeted at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia.
The report also references a study published last month by security firm Chainalysis which suggested that North Korean cyberattacks could have yielded up to $400 million in digital assets last year.
And in 2019, the UN reported that North Korea had racked up around $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using sophisticated cyber attacks.
North Korea has been banned by the UN Security Council from conducting nuclear tests and launching ballistic missiles.
However, the UN report says that despite crippling sanctions, North Korea has been able to continue to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure.
It also continued to seek equipment, technology and know-how abroad, especially through computer means and joint scientific research.
Sanctions monitors said there had been a “marked acceleration” of missile testing by Pyongyang.
The United States said on Friday that North Korea — officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — had conducted nine missile tests in the past month alone. .
“The DPRK has demonstrated increased rapid deployment capabilities, high mobility (including at sea) and improved resilience of its missile forces,” the sanctions monitors said.
On Friday, China and Russia refused to sign a statement condemning the proliferation of North Korean missile launches.
On Sunday, the United States announced that its special representative for North Korea would meet with Japanese and South Korean officials later this week to discuss the situation.
The UN report also found that the humanitarian situation in North Korea continued to deteriorate. He said this was likely the result of the country’s decision to close its borders during the pandemic.
A lack of information from North Korea meant it was difficult to determine the extent of the suffering caused by international sanctions, he said.