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UN report says North Korea behind $281M exchange hack to fund nukes

The United Nations has accused the North Korean state of stealing $281 million worth of crypto from an exchange during September 2020.

 According to Reuters, the findings from a “confidential report” authored by independent sanctions monitors for U.N. Security Council members “strongly suggests” links between the hack’s perpetrators and the North Korean regime. Reuters quoted the report: 

“Preliminary analysis, based on the attack vectors and subsequent efforts to launder the illicit proceeds, strongly suggests links to the DPRK,” Reuters noted the U.N. report accuses North Korea of using the stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in violation of international sanctions.  

Citing sources familiar with the incident, the U.N. report cites claims the attackers breached the exchange by exploiting the smart contracts of Defi protocols:

 “The attackers exploited ‘Defi’ protocols — i.e., smart contracts that facilitate automated transactions.” 

 The report estimates North Korea generated nearly $2 billion in total through “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks targeting banks and crypto exchanges as of 2019.  

As reported by Cointelegraph, the U.N. said that one member state thinks North Korea stole $316.3M worth of digital assets between 2019 and November 2020, suggesting the regime was responsible for a further $36 million worth of crypto thefts on top of the KuCoin hack during that time.  

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