A Hong Kong based blockchain company has been recently established by North Korea in order to launder money, according to a new quarterly report from the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee on North Korea.
As reported by the Chosun newspaper which is from North Korea, the country employed a shipping and logistics firm called Marine China which runs on a blockchain platform. The goal was to avoid international sanctions by laundering stolen cryptocurrency.
“A quarterly report by the committee says that the North set up a shipping and logistics firm run on a blockchain platform in Hong Kong in April to evade international sanctions,” the source claims.
As the blockchain news show, the report claims a man named Julian Kim who is under the alias Tonoy Walker. He was the sole owner and investor in the firm and had attempted to withdraw money from banks in Singapore on several occasions.
As the news outlet Chosun says, the UN claims the laundering scheme (involving another individual linked to the firm as well) circulated the stolen cryptocurrency through upwards of 5,000 transactions in multiple currencies that were planned to obfuscate its source.
In the report, we can also see that North Korea has developed precision “spear-phishing” attacks. Over the past three years, a UN report said, 17 countries have been targeted by the hacking experts resulting in over $2 billion in losses – a figure that the regime has denied.
Chosun added that the report also notes the development of malicious code used to move stolen Bitcoin to a server located at Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung University. There are now severe sanctions against North Korea from the UN and other international bodies have pushed the country and its regime towards cryptocurrencies over time.
Other reports from the Vice showed that the country is developing its own cryptocurrency with properties similar to Bitcoin in order to sidestep international sanctions.
In the report, we can also see a hacker from North Korea who used a method of called “spear phishing” in order to select a target and launch precision attacks. The North used the method to hack into the computer network of a bank in Bangladesh in 2016. Altogether, more than 17 countries have been targets of North Korean spear-phishing over the last three years and the damage is an estimated $2 billion.
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