From World Finance:

A money-spinner
According to a report presented to the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea, the authoritarian state generated approximately $2bn from cyberattacks between 2016 and 2019 – a significant amount, considering the country’s GDP was worth an estimated $18bn in 2019 (see Fig 1). These funds were subsequently funnelled into the DPRK’s military.
“The US Government has released reports affirming that the funds are being spent on weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles programmes,” Kathryn Waldron, a fellow at the R Street Institute who focuses on cybersecurity, told World Finance. “Experts have also speculated that some of the funds may go to supporting the Kim family’s opulent lifestyle, as well as other government programmes.”

“North Korean hackers pose a serious threat to the global financial system,” Waldron said. “We’ve seen North Korean hackers engaged in a wide variety of malicious cyber activity within the global financial system, including holding data for ransom, stealing cryptocurrency and even using malware to make fraudulent ATM withdrawals.”


Waldron, meanwhile, warns that the threat from North Korean hackers may be greater now than ever before: “With the global economy reeling from the economic impact of COVID-19, governments, businesses and financial institutions are uniquely vulnerable to the financial costs of a successful cyberattack. And COVID-19 has presented hackers with new cybersecurity vulnerabilities to exploit.

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