May 29, 2023

OFAC takes aim at DPRK cyber actors

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury has designated four entities and one individual for supporting the ballistic missile and weapons of mass destruction programs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK”).  According to OFAC, Pyongyang University of Automation (“PUA”) trains cyber actors who proceed to work in cyber units within the Reconnaissance General Bureau, which was designated in 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 13687, and controls the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau and the 110th Research Center, both now designated along with PUA pursuant to Executive Order 13687 for being agencies, instrumentalities or controlled entities of the government of North Korea or its Workers’ Party.  As described by OFAC, the trained cyber actors help conduct malicious cyber operations worldwide, destroying financial sector systems, accessing sensitive government information, and stealing virtual currency to support DPKR government programs.  The fourth entity, Chinyong Information Technology Cooperation Company, also designated pursuant to Executive Order 13687, controls companies that employ DPRK information technology workers in Russia and Laos, and is associated with the Ministry of Peoples’ Armed Forces of the DPRK.  Kim Sang Man, who works for Chinyong in Vladivostok, Russia, is designated pursuant to Executive Order 13810 for being a North Korean person who has engaged in commercial activity that generates revenue for the government of North Korea.

Three of the designated entities were previously designated by the Republic of Korea; Chinyong and Kim are now also being designated by the Republic of Korea in coordination with the United States.

As a result of the US designations, all property and interests in property of today’s designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.

US Dept of the Treasury press release