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UN Investigates $3B N. Korean Cyberattack Campaign for Mass Destruction Weapons Funding

United Nations authorities are investigating 58 cyberattacks by North Korea between 2017 and 2023 that pooled $3 billion to fund Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction development.

The UN Security Council, which received the updates, linked the discovery to Kim Jong Un’s persistent production of ballistic missiles, a tactical nuclear attack submarine, and corresponding tests, which were all prohibited by the alliance in 2006.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continued to flout Security Council sanctions,” Reuters reported, quoting unpublished UN documentation.

“It further developed nuclear weapons and produced nuclear fissile materials, although its last known nuclear test took place in 2017.”

The council added that hacking groups are working under North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau, the country’s foreign intelligence agency arm.

“Trends include DPRK targeting of defense companies and supply chains, and increasingly sharing infrastructure and tools,” according to the monitoring group, which consolidates reports twice a year for the 15-member council.

The UN did not respond to the advisory but is expected to release a public statement later this February or in March, the news agency said.

Additional Violations Recorded

Updates by the UN sanctions monitors incorporated accounts of North Korea’s flouting of other resolutions since its first nuclear test in the early 2000s.

These directives imposed the banning of military supplies and luxury goods to Pyongyang, as well as restrictions on the republic’s Foreign Trade Bank and North Korean citizens working in foreign countries.

North Korea satellite
North Korea attempts to launch a satellite as seen on national television. Photo: AFP

“The panel is investigating reports from Member States about supplies by DPRK of conventional arms and munitions in contravention of sanctions,” the UN sanction group wrote.

“The 2023 overall recorded trade volume surpassed the total for 2022, accompanied by the reappearance of a large variety of foreign consumer goods, some of which could be classified as luxury items.”

“The panel investigated reports of numerous DPRK nationals working overseas earning income in violation of sanctions, including in the information technology, restaurant, and construction sectors.”

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