An expert at the United Nations has called for an increased focus on North Korean cyber activity, as they believe it is being used to fund the country’s banned nuclear weapons program.
Eric Penton-Voak, a co-ordinator of the the UN group tasked with monitoring the enforcement of sanctions on North Korea made the statement on Wednesday.
North Korea is currently operating under most stringent UN sanctions ever imposed on the country. Penton-Voak said that despite this North Korea has actually accelerated its missile testing, even testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017.
Penton-Voak recently spoke at a discussion hosted by Washington’s Centre for a New American Security think tank, arguing that cyber activity is now “absolutely fundamental” to North Korea’s ability to evade UN sanctions and generate funding for its nuclear and missile programs.
“We rely on UN member states to inform us about breaches in order to investigate. But many, many member states are quite cautious about their own cyber capabilities,” he said.
“Victims for their part are often very reluctant to discuss how hacks happened and how extensive they were … I do hope and expect that our reports in the future will rather better reflect the central importance of cyber-enabled financial crime to (North Korea),” he continued.