The White House announced that North Korea had funded about 30% of its nuclear and missile programs through illicit cyber activities, including cryptocurrencies and hacking.
Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies, said on Thursday local time that they "believe that North Korea funds just about 30 percent of its missile and other malicious programs from cyberattacks" and that "North Korean malicious cyber activity is of significant concern." She continued that several North Korean cyberattacks against cryptocurrency infrastructure have netted North Korea vast sums of money and stressed that "the U.S. is working closely with its allies and partners" and trying to "make it harder to move illicit funds through cryptocurrency infrastructure."
Neuberger also said the U.S. would strengthen the measures on cryptocurrencies stolen by North Korea to prevent further development of its weapons programs. She said they will "continue to use multiple tools -- our intelligence cooperation to find activity" and "the sanctions designation to designate elements of cryptocurrency infrastructure."
Chainalysis, a blockchain data analysis platform, released an analysis report in August that said North Korean hacking groups, including the Lazarus Group, have stolen some one billion dollars worth of cryptocurrency this year alone. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also announced that the Lazarus Group hacked the blockchain-based video game Axie Infinity in March and stole some 540 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency.
Kim Kun, the head of the Office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, said on Thursday at the symposium on countering DPRK cyber-exploitation of cryptocurrency exchanges that the South Korean Foreign Ministry estimated that North Korea squandered somewhere between 400 million and 650 million dollars in launching 31 ballistic missiles in the first half of this year. He continued that the regime had likely earned the money for the program through one hacking activity in March this year.