U.S. sanctions three state-sponsored DPRK hacking groups
The United States on Friday sanctioned three entities it accused of conducting cyber attacks on behalf of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) government to generate revenue for nuclear and missile programs.
The Department of the Treasury said the new measures target Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff, and Andariel, all of which are controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the DPRK's primary intelligence bureau.
"Treasury is taking action against the DPRK's hacking groups that have been perpetrating cyber attacks to support illicit weapon and missile programs," Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker said in a statement.
"We will continue to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against the DPRK and work with the international community to improve cybersecurity of financial networks," she said.
The sanctions freeze all of the entities' property and interests in the U.S., as well as those of other entities that are owned 50 percent or more by the three groups.
DPRK denied on allegations earlier this month that it had obtained two billion dollars through cyberattacks on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, and accused the U.S. of spreading rumors.
"The United States and other hostile forces are now spreading ill-hearted rumors,” DPRK’s state-run KCNA news agency reported, citing a statement from the spokesperson for the National Coordination Committee of the DPRK for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism.
"Such a fabrication by the hostile forces is nothing but a sort of a nasty game aimed at tarnishing the image of our Republic and finding justification for sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK,” the statement said.
As for the latest sanctions, there is still no response from the DPRK.
The latest Treasury measures come as Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that he would be willing to meet the DPRK's leader Kim Jong Un to resume denuclearization talks at some point later this year.