Cybersecurity News that Matters

Cybersecurity News that Matters

South Korea issues warning on North Korean cyber threats at the UN

Hwang Joon-kook, South Korea’s U.N. ambassador, delivers a speech at the Arria-formula cybersecurity meeting at U.N. headquarters on April 4. Courtesy of the Official X Account of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations

by Kuksung Nam

Apr. 05, 2024
8:05 PM GMT+9

South Korea highlighted concerns on Thursday regarding North Korea’s cyber activities, malicious attacks being undertaken to generate funds for the nation’s illicit missile programs. South Korea called on the international community to work together to address the pressing threat.

Hwang Joon-kook, South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, highlighted North Korea’s cyber activities as one of three areas of concern regarding malicious cyber behavior that the U.N. Security Council should address. “Illicit cyber activities pose significant challenges to the global non-proliferation framework. A prime example is the malicious cyber activities undertaken by North Korea,” the ambassador emphasized.

Hwang highlighted findings from a U.N. expert report published last March, which disclosed that state-sponsored hacking activities fund 40% of the country’s weapons of mass destruction program. These comments were made during an Arria-formula meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York, themed “Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape and Its Implications for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security.” South Korea spearheaded this informal cybersecurity event in collaboration with two co-hosts: the United States and Japan.

The ambassador reported that North Korean hackers have infiltrated the networks of foreign banks and cryptocurrency firms, impacting more than 50 member states. Their aim has been to steal confidential data to fund the development of their weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. “The Security Council must play a pivotal role in heightening awareness of the constantly evolving threat landscape and its effects on international peace and security. Furthermore, it should deter and counter such threats through a comprehensive approach,” the ambassador emphasized.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., expressed concern over North Korea’s cryptocurrency thefts, which the regime undertakes to fund the country’s offensive weapons programs. According to a U.N. expert report, North Korea is accused of being involved in 17 instances of cryptocurrency heists last year, amounting to approximately $750 million. The report also links North Korea to 58 cyberattacks against cryptocurrency-related firms from 2017 to 2023, with losses estimated at around $3 billion in cryptocurrency.

“The issue extends beyond the theft of funds. The proceeds from North Korea’s cyber operations, which include efforts to steal or launder foreign currency, directly finance its illegal weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” stated the U.S. ambassador. “The United States is collaborating with allies to spotlight and denounce disruptive, destructive, and destabilizing activities in cyberspace, including those perpetrated by North Korea.”


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  • Kuksung Nam
    : Author

    Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and...

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