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North Korea using cyberattacks to fund nuclear pursuits and ballistic missiles, UN report says

The small country has been using cyberattacks to steal cryptocurrency and use it to fund its nuclear arsenal

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North Korea
North Korea residents watch video on TV on missile launch.
(JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: February 9, 2021 - 12:19pm

A new report from a panel of experts at the United Nations says that North Korea is financing its continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in part by launching a stream of cyberattacks.

The report, which was distributed among members of the UN Security Council on Monday, posits that Pyongyang has stolen more than $315 million since 2019 and is using that cash to back the development of its nuclear arsenal and other weapons systems. Furthermore, the report indicates that the country has been able to launder stolen cryptocurrency and convert it into government-backed forms of money. 

The report recommends sanctions against four prominent North Koreans – though, the UN Security Council has imposed many a sanction on the North Koreans over the past decade-and-a-half that have failed to discourage the country from its nuclear pursuits. 

The council has now been briefed on the ways in which Pyongyang is using "malicious cyber activities" to access financial channels from which it has been blocked.