The United Nations continues to investigate and reveal its findings that allege that North Korea has been the instigator behind significant fraud activity in the cryptocurrency world. There had been several reports from cyber security firms that also pointed to North Korea as the culprit in several cyber compromises of crypto exchanges over the past few years, especially in Asia and South Korea.
Last August, the United Nations responded with an official investigation. The latest news is that the U.N. has discovered a firm in Hong Kong that was used to launder the stolen funds for state-sponsored fraud.
Back in August, Asktraders.com reported:
The UN’s allegation described a broad-based system of 35 cyber attacks that has victimized some 17 countries across the globe. The Republic of South Korea has been far and away the primary target of these attacks. The UN mentions a total of ten attacks, with India next in line at three, but the rest of the countries were limited to one or two attacks a piece. These countries were Bangladesh, Chile, Vietnam, Nigeria, Kuwait, Liberia, South Africa, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Tunisia, Malaysia and Malta.
At that time, the UN report went on to state the reasons behind the state-sponsored cyber activities and the estimated amount of ill-gotten gains. According to the UN report:
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programs, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars.
UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee on North Korea published a quarterly report that updates the progress on this special investigation. In its latest report, it reveals that a shipping and logistics firm based in Hong Kong, Marine China, was employed by North Korea to launder funds through a very complex set of transactions as a way to circumvent international sanctions on the country. Sanctions are typically implemented by way of the international bank settlement system that can block any significant flow of funds either in U.S. Dollars or other major currencies.
Reporters at Coindesk, who picked up the story from South Korean newspaper Chosun, revealed that:
The report claims a man named Julian Kim, under the alias Tony Walker, was the sole owner and investor in the firm, and had attempted to withdraw money from banks in Singapore on several occasions. As per Chosun, the UN claims the laundering scheme, which also involved another undisclosed individual linked to the firm, circulated the stolen crypto through upwards of 5,000 transactions in multiple countries to obfuscate its source.
Chosun also revealed the tangled web of malicious code and “spear-fishing” attacks that were employed to deliver Bitcoins to a server that was situated on the premises of Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang. It has been public knowledge for some time that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been a been a “bad actor” on the crypto scene, while also investing funds in the research and development of cryptocurrencies. Reports had also surfaced in September that the country was developing its own digital currency to act as an intermediary with Bitcoin to get around international sanctions.