On the 25th of May, Binance Crypto exchange announced the seizure of approximately $4.4 Million in digital currency belonging to fronts for North Korean organizations operating in the country and abroad.
Owing to sanctions against the rogue nation, agents working for it have often turned to illicit methods of raising funds, including theft of crypto.
Illicit Research Financing Blocked
The funds confiscated today were to be remitted to the Pyongyang University of Automation, in charge of the training of the infamous North Korean attackers, according to the United States Department of Treasury, and the North Korean Technical Reconnaissance Bureau, which employs stated bad actors.
Most of the cybercriminals trained at the Pyongyang University of Automation are part of the 110th Research Center, the unit responsible for running the Lazarus Group and similar groups.
To be able to finance these entities, North Korean IT professionals – often based in Russia and China – seek employment in corporations around the globe, turning over their salaries to the North Korean Government. Nonetheless, the latest batch of financing was stopped owing to the efforts of the United States Government and Binance.
We are proud to have assisted United States law enforcement in seizing $4.4M and freezing accounts linked to North Korean organized crime.
Kudos to our law enforcement partners and the Binance Crypto exchange Investigations team for their unwavering commitment to combating felony worldwide.
— Binance Crypto exchange (@binance) May 24, 2023
Brian Nelson, a spokesperson for the United States Treasury, thanked their “partners in the private sector” for the help offered.
“Today’s action persists to highlight the DPRK’s extensive illicit cyber and IT worker operations, which finance the regime’s unlawful weapons of mass devastation and ballistic missile programs. The United States and our partners remain committed to combatting the DPRK’s illicit revenue generation activities and continued efforts to steal money from financial institutions, virtual currency exchanges, corporations, and private individuals around the world.”
Commitment to a Safer World
Binance Crypto exchange has previously come under fire for allegedly not doing enough to prevent cybercriminals and radical groups from receiving financing from sympathizers worldwide.
The company, though, has responded to the states, stating that the team does everything in its power to stop these actions.
Nonetheless, cybersecurity is a numbers game – the fact that several bad actors manage to squeeze through the net reveals nothing about the much larger number of bad actors stopped. This is amplified by the fact that corporations do not publicly reveal which bad actors they stopped and how did they do it, as this would help others evade detection.