November 09, 2022

New CNAS Report: "U.S.-ROK Strategy for Enhancing Cooperation on Combating and Deterring Cyber-Enabled Financial Crime"

By Jason Bartlett

Washington, November 9, 2022—Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report, "U.S.-ROK Strategy for Enhancing Cooperation on Combating and Deterring Cyber-Enabled Financial Crime" from author Jason Bartlett, former research associate in the Energy, Economics, and Security Program.

The report follows the May 2022 U.S.-ROK Summit, which revitalized previous bilateral commitments to establish a joint cyber working group to address cyber-enabled financial crime. In the report, Bartlett provides specific policy recommendations for Washington and Seoul to incorporate within the cyber working group.

Citing research that identifies North Korea as the greatest state-sponsored threat to the global financial services sector, Bartlett argues that Pyongyang is likely to continue hacking cryptocurrency exchanges and laundering the stolen funds as long as the potential gains exceed potential risks and resources to conduct these operations.

Bartlett concludes that Washington and Seoul should:

  1. Establish a research agenda for the U.S.-ROK cyber working group to identify exploitable vulnerabilities in state-sponsored cybercrime strategy, with an initial focus on North Korea.
  2. Identify specific representatives from relevant U.S. and ROK government agencies to participate in the joint cyber working group.
  3. Consider the joint cyber working group as a U.S.-ROK partnership to protect against any state-sponsored cyber-enabled financial crime operations.
  4. Issue a joint advisory guidance document on potential cybersecurity and financial risks related to social engineering hacks.
  5. Organize an external advisory team of leading U.S. and ROK nongovernment researchers and private sector analysts who work on issues pertaining to the agenda of the joint working group and can offer outside assistance and advice.

In August, CNAS hosted a virtual discussion previewing key findings from the report. The recording from the discussion is available here.

The report is available in both English and Korean.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Cameron Edinburgh at cedinburgh@cnas.org


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Authors

  • Jason Bartlett

    Former Research Associate, Energy, Economics, and Security Program

    Jason Bartlett is a former Research Associate for the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at CNAS. He analyzes developments and trends in sanctions policy and evasion tact...