U.S. federal authorities have charged three North Korean hackers with carrying out a series of cyberattacks that included attempts to steal and extort more than $1.3 billion in cash and cryptocurrencies.
The hackers, who are part of a North Korean military intelligence agency, are also accused of creating a blockchain platform to get investors to unknowingly fund North Korean cargo ships with cryptocurrencies as a way to evade U.S. sanctions.
According to the DOJ, one of the hackers, named Kim Il, was involved in the creation of a digital token called the Marine Chain Token, which would allow investors to purchase fractional ownership in cargo ships, thereby concealing the fact that the ships were owned and controlled by North Korea.
The hackers allegedly targeted hundreds of cryptocurrency companies, stealing tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies as part of the scheme.
“The scope of the North Korean hackers’ criminal conduct was extensive and longstanding, and the range of crimes they have committed is staggering,” said Tracy Wilkinson, the acting U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.