According to reports, the Binance Crypto exchange has “aided the US law enforcement” in seizing $4.4 million worth of crypto assets linked to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) cybercrime orgs. The North Korean government, officially known as DPRK employs malicious cyber activity to collect intelligence, conduct attacks and generate revenue. Binance, following “lawfully served warrants” toiled to pin down these accounts and tie up the funds.
On May 25th, through a series of tweets Binance claimed that with the help of its Investigations team, it abetted the US law enforcement to basket the “illicit revenue generation activities” of four now-sanctioned units in North Korea.
The firm also stated that : “The blockchain provides a tremendous amount of transparency, which enables law enforcement to uncover these types of crimes. We work closely with authorities around the world every day to help prevent crimes and take action against bad actors.”
When inquired if more combined efforts are in the works, a Binance spokesperson replied “The organization is continuously monitoring their platform for nefarious nation-state actors and plans to continue their synergetic approach with the law enforcement bodies. A statement released by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on May 23rd proclaimed that it sanctioned four entities and one individual that was involved in “malicious cyber activities that support the DPRK government.
Chinyong Information Technology Cooperation Company, Pyongyang University of Automation, the 110th Research Center and the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau are the four bodies sanctioned by the OFAC. Amongst the four, Chinyong Information Technology Cooperation Company is regarded as an organization that props up the workforce of thousands of proficient IT workers across the globe. These IT workers are entrusted with generating “revenue that contributes to its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs.”
These IT workers make use of fake or illicitly obtained identities to seek opportunities in IT companies abroad including technology and crypto-related jobs. Thereafter, these workers channel the payments back to the DPRK through various cryptocurrency exchanges.
The OFAC also sanctioned an individual named Kim Sang Man (Kim), believed to be engaged in disposing of salaries to relatives of Chinyong’s overseas delegations of workers from the DPRK. Moreover, Kim has received $2 million in cryptocurrency by selling IT equipment to teams associated with the DPRK in China and Russia.