On the 25th of May, Binance announced the seizure of approximately $4.4 million in cryptocurrency belonging to fronts for North Korean organizations operating in the country and abroad.
Due 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 Funding Blocked
The funds seized today were to be remitted to the Pyongyang University of Automation, responsible for the training of the infamous North Korean hackers, according to the US Department of Treasury, and the North Korean Technical Reconnaissance Bureau, which employs said bad actors.
Most of the cybercriminals trained at the Pyongyang University of Automation are part of the 110th Research Center, the unit in charge of running the Lazarus Group and similar groups.
In order to fund these entities, North Korean IT professionals – often based in Russia and China – seek employment in companies around the world, turning over their salaries to the North Korean government. However, the latest batch of funding was stopped due to the efforts of the US Government and Binance.
We are proud to have assisted US law enforcement in seizing $4.4M and freezing accounts linked to North Korean organized crime.
Kudos to our law enforcement partners and the Binance Investigations team for their unwavering commitment to combating crime worldwide.
— Binance (@binance) May 24, 2023
Brian Nelson, a spokesperson for the US Treasury, thanked their “partners in the private sector” for the help offered.
“Today’s action continues to highlight the DPRK’s extensive illicit cyber and IT worker operations, which finance the regime’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction 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, companies, and private individuals around the world.”
Commitment to a Safer World
Binance has previously come under fire for allegedly not doing enough to prevent cybercriminals and radical groups from receiving funding from sympathizers worldwide.
The firm, though, has responded to the allegations, stating that the team does everything in its power to stop these actions.
Indeed, cybersecurity is a numbers game – the fact that a few bad actors manage to squeeze through the net says nothing about the much larger number of bad actors stopped. This is amplified by the fact that companies do not publicly announce which bad actors they stopped and how did they do it, as this would help others evade detection.
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