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North Korea’s military has stolen more than half a billion dollars in cryptocurrency

North Korea has stolen $670 million in fiat and cryptocurrencies by hacking. According to the financial newspaper Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday, March 8.

A report was prepared by a panel of experts in U.N. Security Council which was presented to the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee. The hackers attacked overseas financial institutions from 2015 to 2018 and covered the crime using used blockchain. According to the reports the attack were performed by corps of North Korean military. Allegedly the corps hacked the Interpark, a South Korean e-commerce site, and luring $2.7 million in exchange for stolen data

The report, which is due to be submitted officially within days, the U.N. panel explained,

“[Cryptocurrencies] provide the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with more ways to evade sanctions, given that they are harder to trace, can be laundered many times and are independent from government regulation.”

According to the expert opinion the cryptocurrency aided North Korea bypass the financial obstructions. Since it can be laundered numerous times and difficult to trace the evidence of hacking, North Korea might have used this stolen cryptocurrency. The experts behind the report suggests other countries to reveal and report the details about North Korean attacks with other nations and government to avoid the possible attacks like this in the future.

Nikkei reported about the past incidents that involved blockchain hacks. Allegedly, North Korea was accused of using virtual currencies to get around economic sanctions. To cite an example, Hong Kong-based Company Marine Chain, which buys and sells ships using blockchain, is allegedly believed to have supplied North Korea with cryptocurrency until it was eventually shut down in September 2018.

The hacker group “Lazarus,” funded by North Korea, has stolen $571 million from cryptocurrency exchanges since early 2017. “Lazarus,” is behind five among fourteen reported thefts. It is behind the industry record-breaking $532 million NEM hack of Japan’s Coincheck in January, 2018.

Meanwhile, other countries sanctioned by the world community, such as Venezuela and Iran, also have reported looking at cryptocurrencies as an effective way to bypass economic limitations.