People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of a North Korean missile test
UN Ambassador Calls For Sanctions On North Korea After Missile Tests Photo by Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

United Nations (UN) alleged in a report that North Korea's missile program is funded via stealing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.

Reuters reported that according to an excerpt of a UN report, the Asian country continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs during the past year. Cyber attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges were reportedly an important revenue source for Pyongyang, North Korea, which is formally known as Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

On Friday evening, the report by independent sanctions monitors was submitted to the UN Security Council North Korea sanctions committee. The experts wrote that although "no nuclear tests or launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles were reported, DPRK continued to develop its capability for production of nuclear fissile materials." The UN Security Council had banned North Korea from conducting nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.

The report said that maintenance and development of the country's "nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure continued." The nation continued to "seek material, technology and know-how for these programs overseas, including through cyber means and joint scientific research."

Investigators found that between 2020 and mid-2021 cyber attackers stole more than $50 million of digital assets, reported BBC. The attacks targeted at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in Asia, North America and Europe.

The sanctions monitors also cited a report in January by cybersecurity firm Chainalysis that said that North Korea launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms that extracted almost $400 million worth of digital assets in 2021.

In January, North Korea had carried out nine ballistic missile launches, US and others said Friday. It was reportedly the largest number in a single month in the history of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and missile programs.

The sanctions monitors said that North Korea "demonstrated increased capabilities for rapid deployment, wide mobility (including at sea), and improved resilience of its missile forces." The report also said that North Korea's humanitarian situation "continues to worsen." That was probably due to the Covid-19 blockade, said the sanctions monitors.

On Friday, Russia and China didn’t agree to sign onto a statement condemning the increase in number of North Korea's missile launches. Two days later, the US announced that its special representative for North Korea would soon meet Japanese and South Korean officials to discuss the situation.

A Russian crypto crime boss who allegedly laundered some $4 billion in Bitcoin has been extradited from Greece to San Francisco to face trial on federal charges. This is a representational image. Pixabay

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