North Korea boasts an elite group of hackers, known as APT 38, that stole $1 billion from online banks and cryptocurrency exchanges last year.
The hacker team, which has according to Wired established fraudulent cryptocurrencies and targeted digital money exchanges, is responsible for funneling money straight into the country’s military — and even helping it fund nuclear weapons.
To prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons, various nations have imposed sanctions and restricted imports. In response, Wired reports that APT 38 is going out and targeting banks with weak security and setting up crypto scams to get more money into military pockets.
“Security analysts are unanimous in assessing that the funds stolen by APT 38 – a significant percentage of North Korean GDP – are channeled into the DPRK’s missile and nuclear development programs,” an anonymous security expert told Wired.
North Korea’s APT 38 raises the stakes of cybercrime — now it’s not just a matter of lost dollars but the possibility of new nuclear threats being funded by gullible crypto investors.
“We need to ask ourselves,” another anonymous security expert told Wired, “when North Korea tests their next missile, is it really okay that they paid for it with bitcoin?”
READ MORE: North Korea’s elite hackers are funding nukes with crypto raids [Wired]
More on cybersecurity: Banks Are Under Siege by Sophisticated Hackers