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N. Korean hackers stole US$ 316 mil. in virtual assets from 2019 to 2020: UN Report Updated: 2021-04-01 16:54:40 KST


Every year, North Korea manages to find ways to evade international sanctions placed on the regime for its nuclear and missile development and the past two years have been no exception.
A United Nations report compiled by the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea stated the country's hackers stole 316-million U.S. dollars of virtual assets between 2019 and November 2020 targeting global financial institutions and virtual currency exchanges to illegally acquire cryptocurrencies.
This comes as North Korea suspended shipments of coal, one of its most valuable exports, in the latter half of 2020, as the North shut itself off from the outside world to prevent an influx of COVID-19.
Before that, it exported at least two-and-a-half million tons of coal between January and September last year, mainly to China.
The panel stated the North had also violated UN sanctions over oil imports, exceeding the 500-thousand barrels a year it is allowed to import by "multiple times" that amount.
Rather than its traditional ship-to-ship transfers North Korea prefers to carry oil shipments directly from foreign countries to its own territory via its oil tankers and barges.
This is possible due to a new technique the North started using to falsify the identity of vessels.
Vessels that have repeatedly violated international sanctions placed on the regime by shipping restricted cargo have started stealing the identification codes of other vessels thereby securing other vessels' maritime mobile service identity recognized by the International Maritime Organization.
The vessels also turn off or fabricate information from the automatic identification system a tracking system on ships used by vessel traffic services.
The UN Panel's report is comprised of information received from UN member countries, intelligence agencies and the media but not from North Korea.
The report has been approved by the UN Security Council.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
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