U.S. Seeks to Seize 280 Crypto Accounts Linked to North Korean Hackers


The U.S. government has filed a civil forfeiture complaint against 280 cryptocurrency accounts. It alleges that North Korean hackers used those accounts to launder money stolen in two separate 2019 hacks.

August 28, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – According to the WSJ report, the U.S. government is seeking to seize 280 cryptocurrency accounts it said were used by North Korean hackers who stole millions of dollars in crypto from two crypto exchanges and used Chinese traders to launder their funds.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture complaint after having charged two Chinese citizens in March with laundering. According to the DoJ, these two laundered more than $100 million in cryptocurrency on behalf of North Korea. 

North Korea used crypto hackers to circumvent sanctions 

Earlier court filings reveal that the North Korean regime uses crypto hackers to circumvent different sanctions. The Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s criminal division said that yesterday’s action publicly exposes the ongoing connections between North Korea’s cyber-hacking program and a Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering network. 

The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006. They did this n a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. However, some reports allege that the North Korean regime uses cryptocurrencies to fund its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

North Korea cyber attacks net estimated $2 billion

North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion for weapons of mass destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from cryptocurrency exchanges and banks, a U.N. report revealed last year. The U.N. experts said attacks against crypto exchanges have allowed the North Korean regime to generate income without the oversight common in traditional banking channels. 

Crypto scams worldwide have surged amid the ongoing pandemic this year. Russia reported a significant rise in crypto scams in the first half of this year. Several other countries also reported a surge in ransomware attacks, crypto Ponzi schemes, and other crypto-related scams. 

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