OFAC and South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sanction Entities Associated with North Korean Hacking and IT Worker Crypto Payment Schemes

May 24, 2023

On May 23, 2023, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced sanctions against several entities and individuals associated with illicit North Korean revenue generation schemes. Three North Korean organizations were sanctioned for their role in North Korean hacking activity, including the 110th Research Center and its parent agency, the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau. According to OFAC, Chinyong helped North Korean IT workers get jobs in Russia and Laos specifically, with Kim helping funnel funds back to North Korea. In total, OFAC lists six cryptocurrency addresses associated with Kim, all of which are deposit addresses at a large, mainstream exchange. And while most analysis of North Korea’s cryptocurrency activity focuses on hacking, these sanctions also shed light on North Korea’s IT-earnings-to-crypto schemes, which have also proven lucrative.