South Korea imposes sanctions against North Korean hackers

The government of the Republic of Korea has blacklisted four individuals and seven organizations from North Korea, which, according to the authorities of the South, are associated with the theft of crypto assets.

Seoul Sanctions Target Individuals Suspected of Lazarus Links. The individuals affected by the measures included Park Jin-hyeok, the head of Chosun Expo, which allegedly serves as a front for Lazarus.

“These are the first cybersecurity sanctions against North Korea by the South Korean government.. We hope that what is happening will alert the world to the risk of trading virtual assets with North Korea,” the South Korean Foreign Ministry announced.

In early February, the United Nations reported in a report that North Korean hackers stole more crypto assets in 2022 than any other year.. UN analysts have found that North Korean hackers are responsible for stealing between $630 million and more than $1 billion in crypto assets last year after attacking foreign aerospace and defense networks.

The UN experts said that North Korean hackers have begun to use more ingenious schemes to steal funds, which has made it much more difficult to trace stolen crypto assets.

In January, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation claimed that Lazarus were involved in the massive Harmony One gateway hack that occurred in mid-2022.. Approximately $60 million of stolen assets were exchanged on Ethereum using the RAILGUN transaction anonymization protocol. Some of the stolen funds were frozen thanks to the efforts of the Binance and Huobi exchanges.