While making this announcement, Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers extensively condemned the North Korean program which is the most famous branch of which is Lazarus Group. Demers stated:
“North Korea’s operatives, using keyboards rather than guns, stealing digital wallets of cryptocurrency instead of sacks of cash, are the world’s leading bank robbers.”
With a nation majorly sequestered from the international economy, their hacking program has been a crucial source of revenue. Most have linked hacking income from various sources like the WannaCry malware and cryptocurrency exchange CoinCheck with the nuclear weapons program. Demers explained:
“The DPRK cyber threat has followed the money and turned its revenue generation sights on the most cutting edge aspects of international finance, including through the theft of cryptocurrency from exchanges and other financial institutions”
North Korea’s hacking program has been under extensive scrutiny from within the United States and internationally. Since the country has no widespread internet access, many people cite China’s role in training North Korean hackers. Notably, the United States sanctioned two Chinese affiliates of the Lazarus Group hack in March 2021.