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North Korea denies raising $ 2 billion in cyber attacks on banks

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — North Korea denied on Sunday allegations it had raised $ 2 billion in cyberattacks on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges and accused the United States of spreading the rumors.

A UN report seen by Reuters last month said North Korea had used “massive and highly complex” cyberattacks to steal cryptocurrency banks and stock exchanges, raising $ 2 billion it used to fund weapons of mass destruction programs.

“The United States and other hostile forces are now spreading rumors of bad faith,” the North’s official KCNA news agency quoted a spokesman for the National Coordinating Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as saying.

“The creation of such a hostile force is a dirty game aimed at tarnishing the image of our republic, creating a justification for sanctions and a campaign of pressure against the DPRK,” the statement said.

Washington has made modest progress on its goal of getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program despite three meetings between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea’s deputy foreign minister said on Saturday that hopes for talks with Washington were dwindling and criticized US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his recent comments on “North Korea’s rogue behavior”.

In recent years, Pyongyang has been blamed for a series of cyber attacks mostly targeting financial networks in the United States, South Korea and more than a dozen countries, and experts say such attacks have provided a hard currency for the regime.

The core of the accusations against North Korea lies in its links to a group of hackers called Lazarus linked to a $ 81 million cyber theft from the Bangladesh Central Bank in 2016 and a 2014 attack on Sony’s Hollywood studio.

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