UN experts: North Korean hackers stole record virtual assets
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — North Korean hackers working for the government stole record-breaking virtual assets last year estimated to be worth between $630 million and more than $1 billion, U.N. experts said in a new report.
The panel of experts said in the wide-ranging report seen Tuesday by The Associated Press that the hackers used increasingly sophisticated techniques to gain access to digital networks involved in cyberfinance, and to steal information that could be useful in North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs from governments, individuals and companies.
With growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the report said North Korea continued to violate U.N. sanctions, producing weapons-grade nuclear material, and improving its ballistic missile program, which “continued to accelerate dramatically.”
In 2022, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – the North’s official name – launched at least 73 ballistic missiles and missiles combining ballistic and guidance technologies including eight intercontinental ballistic missiles, the panel said. And 42 launches, including the test of a reportedly new type of ICBM and a new solid-fueled ICBM engine, were conducted in the last four months of the year.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un ordered an “exponential increase of the country’s nuclear arsenal” in January, and the panel said “a new law discussed an increased focus on tactical nuclear capability, a new first-use doctrine, and the `irreversible nature’ of the DPRK’s nuclear status.”
“The ability to carry out an unexpected nuclear strike on any regional or international target, described in DPRK’s new law on nuclear doctrine and progressively in public statements since 2021, is consistent with the observed production, testing, and deployment of its...