The 2024 National Proliferation Financing Risk Assessment is seen in this undated file photo captured from a Treasury Department document. Yonhap

North Korea has continued to engage in “malicious” cyber activities and mobilize information technology (IT) workers to bankroll its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, a U.S. Treasury Department report said Wednesday, calling the North and Russia “highest-risk threat actors.”The department made the evaluation in its 2024 National Proliferation Financing Risk Assessment that it released along with separate assessments on money laundering and terrorist financing risks.”The DPRK continued to conduct malicious cyber activity and deploy information technology workers to, at least in part, fund its WMD capabilities,” the department said in the report

“This activity included efforts to illicitly raise revenue in fiat currency and virtual assets, including hacking of VASPs and, to a lesser extent, ransomware attacks,” it added. VASP stands for the virtual assets service provider.While the 2018 and 2022 editions of the report noted how the North used, stole and laundered virtual assets to fund its weapons programs, that activity has accelerated in the latest assessment cycle, according to the department.Citing the 2023 Director of National Intelligence Annual Threat Assessment, the department noted the North will increase its use of methods like cyber theft and illicit trade to raise revenue to support its strategic priorities, including its WMD program.

It also called attention to a report by the U.N. panel of experts, which said the North attempted to steal as much as $2 billion between 2015 and 2019 through cyber means.Based on a review of data since 2022, the department highlighted the North and Russia as “highest-risk threat actors” due to the “scope and sophistication of their illicit procurement and revenue-generation efforts.””Two states in particular, Russia and the DPRK, presented a significantly higher threat,” it said in the report’s conclusion. “Russia’s ongoing illegal war in Ukraine has accelerated that country’s illicit procurement, including components produced in the United States.”In its latest assessment on money laundering, the department said that cybercrime groups linked to or receiving safe haven from Russia and North Korea have been responsible for an “overwhelming” share of recently identified ransomware-related incidents and openly attacked 온라인카지노 U.S. organizations.

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