Deputy envoys of S. Korea, U.S. meet over N. Korean cyberthreats
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- Special envoys of South Korea and the United States on North Korea met Tuesday to discuss ways to counter illicit cyber activities by North Korean actors, the state department said.
The meeting between U.S. Deputy Special Representative for North Korea Jung Pak and her South Korean counterpart, Lee Tae-woo, came one day after the U.S. imposed sanctions on a virtual currency mixer for laundering virtual currency stolen by a North Korean hacker group, Lazarus.
A department spokesperson said the two discussed the "increasing" cyberthreat posed by North Korea.
"The meeting addressed the dangers posed by the DPRK cyber program and focused on strategies to combat Pyongyang's ongoing attempts to generate revenue for its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs through malicious cyber activity," the spokesperson said in a press release, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The U.S. Department of Treasury said on Monday that cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash helped launder more than US$455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group.
Tornado Cash was the second virtual currency mixer to be designated by the U.S.
Washington imposed sanctions on Blender.io in May for laundering some $20.5 million out of nearly $620 million stolen by the Lazarus Group from online game Axie Infinity earlier this year.
The U.S. has said Pyongyang is increasingly engaging in illicit cyber activities to help fund its illegal weapons programs amid strong U.S. and international sanctions that many believe have blocked nearly all sources of hard currency for the impoverished North.
The department spokesperson said Tuesday's meeting highlighted U.S. commitment to "working closely with like-minded countries to focus attention on and counter disruptive, destructive or otherwise destabilizing behaviors in cyberspace."
"Deputy Special Representative Pak reiterated the U.S. commitment to continue close cooperation with the Yoon administration on addressing the cyberthreat posed by the DPRK," the official added.
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