North Korea warns it will make the US suffer the ‘greatest pain’ in its history following UN vote for new sanctions as Kim Jong-un turns to cyber-attacks to fund his regime

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
By Paul Martin

Imports of crude oil have been capped and textile exports have been banned
North Korea makes £570 million a year from selling textiles to other nations
China and Russia supported the move after the US watered down its proposal

12 September 2017

North Korea has warned the US will soon face the ‘greatest pain’ it has ever experienced as Kim Jong-un’s hackers look set to turn to cyber-attacks to steal virtual currency in order to obtain funds amid United Nations sanctions.

Imports of crude oil have been capped – although the council stopped short of a total ban – and textile exports have been banned in the latest move against the state after its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

It was the ninth sanctions resolution over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs adopted by the 15-member council since 2006.

Now, Kim Jong-un’s hackers are said to be looking to counter the restrictions by tapping into online currency such as Bitcoin as Pyongyang officials condemned the sanctions adding the US would soon face the ‘greatest pain’ it had ever experienced.

North Korea on Tuesday rejected the tougher sanctions and aimed its threats at the US.

Pyongyang’s ambassador, Han Tae Song, told a UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva: ‘My delegation condemns in the strongest terms and categorically rejects the latest illegal and unlawful U.N. Security Council resolution.’

Han accused the U.S. administration of being ‘fired up for political, economic, and military confrontation,’ and of being ‘obsessed with the wild game of reversing the DPRK’s development of nuclear force which has already reached the completion phase’.

Now, experts predict the dictatorship is preparing to move part of its threat online.

North Korean hackers have mounted attacks on at least three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges since May, security researcher FireEye said in a report Monday.

Local news reports said that in May Yapizon had more than 3,800 bitcoins worth $15million stolen – although FireEye said there were no clear indications of North Korean involvement in that case.

South Korea’s opposition Bareun Party lawmaker Ha Tae-Kyung, who has followed North Korean hacking attempts, said it had apparently stolen more than 90billion won ($80million) from South Korea through hacking attacks in the four years to June, including cyber-attacks on ATMs.

‘North Korea has set its sights on the so-called next generation financial markets, including virtual currencies, pin-tech and blockchains,’ he told journalists last week.

‘Alongside the UN-imposed sanctions, international cooperation is also required to curb the North’s cyber-hacking which can be used to finance its nuclear and missile programmes’, he said.

Experts have warned these attacks will become more frequent as the dictatorship attempts to re-balance its economy after the UN sanctions.

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