Technology

North Korea’s increasing use of crypto heists to fund nukes worries US

North Korea is increasingly using its crypto heists to fund its nuclear weapons program, worried U.S. officials say. “I’m very concerned about North Korea’s cyber capabilities,” Anne Neuberger, the Biden administration’s deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, said recently during an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). “They use cyber to gain, we estimate, up to a third of [stolen crypto] funds to fund their missile program.” “That’s a major issue, whether it’s attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges or use of information technology workers in various countries,” Neuberger said. She added that North Korea’s expansion of its missile testing is a top priority for the U.S., which is taking multiple steps to counter Pyongyang’s cyber threats, including imposing sanctions against criminal groups and seizing stolen digital assets. A United Nations report this year found that between 2020 and 2021, North Korean-backed hackers stole more than $50 million in digital assets to fund the country’s missile program, the BBC reported. The U.N. report also revealed that the attacks targeted at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia.

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