Binance freezes $4.4 million worth of crypto from North Korean hackers

Illicit funding for North Korea was seized thanks to a tip from US law enforcement. Binance seized approximately $4.4 million in cryptocurrency on May 25, owned by North Korean organizations operating both inside and outside the country. These organizations have often turned to illegal methods, such as crypto theft, to raise funds due to sanctions.

Illegal funding of North Korean hackers stopped

According to the US Treasury Department and the North Korean Technical Reconnaissance Bureau seized funds today earmarked for the Pyongyang University of Automation. This university is known for its role in training notorious North Korean hackers.

A significant number of cybercriminals trained at Pyongyang University of Automation belong to the 110th Research Center. This unit is in charge of the Lazarus Group and similar groups.

To provide funding to these entities, North Korean IT professionals often seek employment with companies around the world, particularly in Russia and China. They pay their salaries to the North Korean government. Nevertheless, the efforts of the US government and Binance have caused these funding streams to stop.

Brian Nelson, a spokesman for the US Treasury Department, expressed his gratitude to “private sector partners” for their valuable support.

“Today’s action continues to highlight the extensive illicit cyber and IT operations of the DPRK, which fund the regime’s illicit weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. The United States and our partners remain committed to combating the DPRK’s illegal revenue-generating activities and ongoing efforts to steal funds from financial institutions, virtual currency exchanges, businesses and individuals around the world,” said Brian Nelson. .

Binance responds to criticism

Binance has drawn criticism for allegedly lacking efforts to prevent cybercriminals and radical groups from receiving funding from sympathizers worldwide.

Nevertheless, the company has responded to these allegations and stated that the team is doing everything it can to stop such activities.

It is important to recognize that cybersecurity is a challenge where numbers matter. The fact that some malicious actors manage to slip through the net does not say everything about the much larger number that are stopped. In addition, companies usually do not publicly disclose which malicious actors they have stopped and how, as this could help others evade detection.

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