According to news from South Korea, South Korea is planning to submit a new legislative proposal aimed at tracking and freezing the cryptocurrency and virtual assets used by North Korea to finance its illegal weapons programs.
Urgent Measures Needed
The initial version of the proposal was first announced by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in November of last year; however, upon the instruction of President Yoon Suk Yeol, the proposal was sent back for further revisions. According to confidential discussions with unnamed officials conducted by the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, the new proposal emphasizes the need for urgent measures against North Korea’s cyber security risks.
Furthermore, the revised legislative proposal, which resulted from 10 months of consultations between different ministries of the South Korean government, aims to further strengthen existing sanctions against North Korea. A high-ranking government official stated in an interview with JoongAng Ilbo that the proposal reflects the country’s goal of enhancing its cyber security framework following previous administration’s steps in this direction.
North Korea Stole $1.28 Billion Worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum
Another official mentioned that the proposal in its latest stage includes special measures to track and neutralize stolen virtual currencies and other crypto assets hacked by North Korea. According to South Korean intelligence, North Korea had stolen a total of $1.28 billion worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum through various hacking methods in just the year 2022.
“About half of North Korea’s missile program is supported by these types of financial activities.”Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, USA
A report from the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, stating that North Korean hackers have stolen over $3 billion in the past five years, highlights how North Korea is financing its missile program through cyber attacks and crypto theft.