December 3, 2022

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U.S.-ROK Joint Symposium on Countering DPRK Cyber Threats to Cryptocurrency Exchanges – United States Department of State

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Office of the Spokesperson

Today, the United States and the Republic of Korea convened a symposium in Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK) to discuss steps partner governments and private sector stakeholders can take to defend against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) malicious cyber operations that steal funds from cryptocurrency exchanges and other virtual asset service providers to support its unlawful weapons of mass destruction programs.

To date, the DPRK has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies, including the equivalent of $620 million in cryptocurrencies from a virtual asset service provider in March 2022. The United States and the ROK remain committed to working with governments, financial institutions, virtual asset service providers, and other private industry actors to disrupt DPRK cyber threats and fully implement UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to the DPRK.

Hundreds of participants from over a dozen countries participated in the symposium that featured presentations by representatives from the U.S. Departments of State and the Treasury, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Police Agency, the UN Security Council’s DPRK Panel of Experts, international research institutions, and leading virtual asset service industry stakeholders. The presentations focused on topics such as types of DPRK cryptocurrency malware, UN Security Council resolutions on the DPRK, known DPRK cryptocurrency laundering techniques, and cybersecurity best practices. Participants further discussed mechanisms to enhance cooperation between the private sector and governments to effectively prevent and respond to DPRK cyber operations.

The United States is committed to disrupting illicit DPRK revenue generation activities worldwide, including its cyber operations, which support the DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction programs, may facilitate criminal activity, and threaten international peace and security and the global nonproliferation regime. The full implementation of DPRK-related UN Security Council resolutions by all countries is crucial to a successful diplomatic outcome.

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