Published On: Wed, Sep 4th, 2019

North Korea slams accusations of crypto theft as ‘a nasty game’ | World | News

Officials from the sanctions committee of the United Nations Security Council recently pointed fingers directly at Pyongyang over the mass theft of huge sums of cryptocurrency, claiming the hacks were designed to fund Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons programme. But the nation’s state-governed news service – the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) – has hit back, branding the UN’s startling accusation as a ‘nasty game’ and even comparing it to Nazi propaganda.

The United States and other hostile forces are now spreading ill-hearted rumours that we have illegally forced the transfer of two billion US dollars needed for the development of WMD programs by involving cyber actors,” said the KCNA.

“A question being raised is on such fabricated information, unreasonably accusing us with no scientific ground, reflected even in the Midterm Report of the Panel of Experts of the Sanctions Committee against the DPRK, the UN Security Council, which we have never ever recognised.

“The fabrication of such a sheer lie by the ringleaders of cyber crime and all other crimes is quite an absurd act aimed at re-enacting the same old trick as the Hitler fascist propagandists used to cling to, often saying ‘Tell a lie a hundred times and it will pass as a truth’.

“Such a fabrication by the hostile forces is nothing but a sort of a nasty game aimed at tarnishing the image of the DPRK and finding justification for sanctions and pressure campaign against it.”

The UN Security Council, however, maintains it is deeply concerned by North Korea’s weapons capabilities and is not backing down from accusations that Pyongyang is heavily involved in cybercrime. The specialist branch of the UN says it is investigating a string of apparent cyber-attacks on up to 17 countries by hackers from North Korea.

Earlier this year, reported on how one of the world’s leading cyber security experts had labelled North Korea “an extremely dangerous cyber power on a mission to steal bitcoin throughout the world”.

Renowned digital security figure Gareth Niblett revealed a massive hacking programme – codenamed ‘Lazarus’ – had infiltrated banks and crypto assets across the world, stealing at least $700million.

“North Korea has been desperately trying to raise cash to combat international embargoes over recent years, and have resorted to stealing it since at least 2016,” he said.

“They go where the money is. It started with traditional banking systems around the world – Bank of Bangladesh and Banco de Chile for example and, more recently, moving to using malware to mine cryptocurrency.

“North Korea is one of a number of growing global cyber powers building offensive cyber capabilities for military, intelligence, and economic aims.”

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