PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA — The hermit kingdom has found a way to rake in the dough despite intense global pressure over its nuclear capabilities.
Reuters reports that the U.S. will be imposing sanctions on 28 ships, 27 companies, and one person believed to be helping North Korea, in a bid to pressure the regime to give up on developing weapons.
But according to former National Security Agency official Priscilla Moriuchi, the North is earning millions through cryptocurrency, and may be turning it into cash or goods to fund their nuclear and ballistic missiles program.
The North Koreans reportedly obtained 11,000 bitcoins through mining and hacking in 2017, which is valued between $120 to 210 million.
Evidence suggests they have cyber operations setup in several foreign locations, including China, India, and Southeast Asia.
The reclusive nation is believed to be behind multiple cyber attacks in recent years, like the Wanna Cry ransomware, the Bank of Bangladesh theft, and a South Korean cryptocurrency heist.
With the North Koreans capitalizing on the anonymity of cryptocurrency, experts believe more international regulation is crucial in blocking their shadowy activities.