US Officials Believe Sanctions Lead to Boost in DPRK's Cyberattacks - Reports

© REUTERS / Kacper Pempel/IllustrationA hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017
A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017 - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – North Korea’s lack of funds, caused by international US-led sanctions, has prompted the increase in the number of cyberattacks by the country’s hackers on financial institutions and businesses in the United States and across the world, the CNN broadcaster reported, citing US officials.

They told the outlet that the failure of the recent US-North Korean summit, which finished without any agreement or declaration partially due to Pyongyang’s demand to lift the restrictions, might result in a surge in cyberattacks.

"The North Koreans have quickly become the world's most advanced and persistent digital bank robbers … It's clear that global economic penalties are working and have forced the North Koreans to turn to alternative approaches to create revenue," Anthony Ferrante, a former FBI and White House cybersecurity official, who currently works as a head of cybersecurity at the FTI Consulting company, told CNN.

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John Demers, assistant attorney general for national security at the US Justice Department, told the broadcaster that cyber bank theft formed a major part of North Korean hackers’ activities in cyberspace.

"They need hard currency. That's a good way to get it, and then if you're going to choose among the banks you're not going to start with the largest, most sophisticated bank with the most sophisticated cyber defenses, you're going to look around and see maybe who you think might be more vulnerable," Demers explained.

North Korea has been subject to international economic and diplomatic sanctions for years due to its nuclear and weapons tests, held in violations of UN resolutions.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands before their one-on-one chat during the second U.S.-North Korea summit at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam February 27, 2019 - Sputnik International
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The topic of sanctions has been addressed at the second summit on denuclearization between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, held on Wednesday and Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam.

After the talks, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said his country had asked for partial US sanctions relief, which he called a "realistic" offer. Trump, in his turn, has said that North Korean officials have asked for a complete removal of sanctions, adding that he is not ready for this unless a "real" program for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is agreed upon.

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