Key Points

One strategic rule by now should be obvious: Do not enrich thine enemy. Or, to paraphrase a quote attributed to Lenin: Don’t sell your enemy the rope with which to hang you, or let him steal from you the technology for building gallows.

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In addition to targeting individual North Korean hackers and coordinated groups of hackers that conduct more complex cyber operations – commonly known as Advanced Persistent Threat groups – the U.S. government should continue investigating non-North Korean individuals and entities helping Pyongyang enhance its sanctions evasion and resistance capabilities. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network should also continue subjecting cryptocurrency exchanges to the same anti-money laundering standards to which it holds money service businesses, thereby undercutting the regime’s ability to engage in illicit financial activities in the cryptocurrency space.

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To be successful, maximum pressure 2.0 should include diplomatic, military, cyber, economic and financial sanctions, and information and influence activities. There will undoubtedly be challenges associated with implementation. And no plan fully survives contact with the adversary. But this campaign offers the best hope of securing American, South Korean, and international interests on the Korean Peninsula without war.

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While data integrity and supply-chain security may not sound as tantalizing as building the algorithm that develops biotronic robots, it may be even more important. If we don’t secure the data we use to propel our AI revolution, we are building an AI capacity for the adversary.

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Treasury also should sanction the financiers of cyber operations, as sanctioning only the hackers themselves has been insufficient to deter their misbehavior. Reports indicate, for example, that another sanctioned Iranian cyber threat group, known as Cobalt Dickens, continues to operate unimpeded. Treasury’s existing anti-terrorism and non-proliferation sanctions are potent because they target not only the aggressors but also their financial networks. For U.S. sanctions to be an effective tool to combat and thwart cyber operations, this expansiveness must be replicated in the cyber realm.

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Events

EVENT: The Battlefield of Today and Tomorrow: Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare

November 13, 2018 | 10:00

Projects