Korea criminals: how online heists fund North Korea – and what you should do about it

Chris Allen, consultant, lecturer and researcher in organised crime, digs into the rogue state… and offers some advice on mitigating your North Korean risk


If a nation state were ever to turn to organised crime as a revenue raising tactic, the world’s most secretive dictatorship is perfectly positioned to do so. This is what’s happened in Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea.

According to a US Army report on the country’s military capabilities, published online last month, North Korean hackers – backed by the Government – have plundered banks across the globe to support a regime on the brink of bankruptcy thanks to UN sanctions.

Precise calculations are not straightforward, but the report estimates that North Korea relies on criminal activity for up to 15% of its income, with cyber attacks driving a significant portion.

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