South Korea is getting ready to upgrade its cybersecurity to stop North Korean cyberattacks, especially those involving cryptocurrencies.
Local reports indicate that high-ranking government officials view crypto as a crucial facilitator of Pyongyang’s illicit weapons programs, highlighting a perceived lack of vigilance in this regard during the previous administration.
The forthcoming legislation seeks to counteract the exploitation of digital assets acquired by North Korean hackers.
This is an addition that was absent from the draft initially proposed by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the previous year.
Intelligence reports reveal that North Korean hackers managed to pilfer $1.28 billion worth of coins in 2022, employing tactics such as ransomware, scams, fraud, and various cyberattacks.
This underscores the critical urgency for implementing robust countermeasures.
Yoon Han-hong, a People Power Party representative serving on the National Policy Committee, pointed out that crypto assets approximating $52.46 million have likely been funneled through South Korean exchanges by North Korean hackers in the last four years.
According to Anne Neuberger, US Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, about half of North Korea’s missile program financing is from digital theft and cyberattacks.
This information aligns with the increase in the country’s missile tests, marking a surge in both cyber and military activities.
Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, has substantiated these claims, revealing that North Korea has illicitly obtained over $3 billion through cybercrime in the last five years.
Additionally, United Nations sanctions experts have linked North Korea to using stolen funds to support its prohibited nuclear and missile programs.
South Korea’s move is when the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is intensifying its scrutiny of North Korean hackers.
In August, the bureau identified six Bitcoin wallets connected to the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking syndicate, with roughly $40 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC).