While the world is fixated on the missiles being launched from North Korea (DPRK) with ever increasing regularity, many lose sight of the ugly underbelly of Kim Jong-un\u2019s regime. The regime is a nation state that uses criminal activity against countries, companies and individuals.\u00a0Cyber crime DPRK styleIn a demonstration of their ability to utilize existing infrastructure for disruption operations, in September 2017, we saw DPRK launch a series of SMS (text) messages to the U.S. military population in South Korea (ROK), advising the recipients to prepare to execute the emergency evacuation plan. Accompanying this SMS were messages sent via Facebook Messenger. To their credit, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) anticipated such activity and had in place a \u201cdouble check before you go\u201d process, so no one grabbed their "go bag."\u00a0Also in September, we saw FireEye attribute three separate attacks that mined Bitcoins off of ROK cryptocurrency exchanges by DPRK\u2019s cyber teams. The success of these attacks may have been one of the considerations in the ROK Financial Services Commission's recently announced ban on Initial Coin Offerings\u00a0(ICO) in the ROK.Earlier this week, The Express\u00a0interviewed Robert Hannigan, former director of U.K. security and intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters\u00a0(GCHQ), about DPRK. His message was explicit and unambiguous: DPRK cyber experts are \u201cafter our money.\u201dHannigan noted how the WannaCry ransomware attack, which nearly crippled the U.K.\u2019s National Health Service in May 2017, is an example of\u00a0DPRK's capabilities. (The NSA also attributed WannaCry, which touched people and organizations in 150 countries, to the DPRK, specifically the Reconnaissance General Bureau \u2014 DPRK\u2019s spy agency).The BBC reminds us of the history of DPRK using their cyber skills to garner cold hard cash with DPRK's attempt to extort millions from Sony in retaliation for the entertainment company\u2019s intent to release a satiric film about DPRK\u2019s leadership, "The Interview." Then in 2016, there were the multiple exploits of the Swift payment system, which hit 35 banks and heisted $951 million, including $81 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh.DPRK cyber capabilitiesKnowledge of the DPRK cyber operations capabilities has been the focus of the Center for Strategic Studies for many years. In the center\u2019s December 2015 report \u201cNorth Korea\u2019s Cyber Operations \u2013 Strategy and Responses,\u201d they note how DPRK\u2019s peacetime strategy includes \u201claunching low-intensity unconventional operations to disrupt the peaceful status quo without escalating the situation to a level the DPRK cannot control or win.\u201dTo that end, the report demonstrated a modicum of prescience (or spot-on analysis) when they noted the likelihood of DPRK continuing \u201ccyber operations with diplomatic offensives, psychological operations, military exercises, missile tests or other provocative behavior.\u201dDPRK criminal activitiesMany of the diplomatic missions of DPRK are expected to self-fund their existence. In a brief expose on how the DPRK diplomats make ends meet, The Telegraph discusses both legitimate (flea markets) and the criminal (black markets, bootlegging and drugs).Don\u2019t feel too sorry for them. There is ample evidence that DPRK is involved in the production of illicit drugs, counterfeit currency, cigarettes and pharmaceuticals and that he diplomatic missions are the store fronts.The 2008 Congressional Research Service\u2019s report \u201cNorth Korea Crime-for-Profit Activities\u201d estimates more than $500 million per year is garnered for DPRK via criminal activities.While the report indicated a decrease in counterfeiting activities, a late-2016 piece, also from The Telegraph, notes how DPRK may be back into the U.S. $100 bill counterfeit currency production after a few years' hiatus. The counterfeit $100 super note, which the DPRK perfected, caused the U.S. to adjust how its currency is printed.A DPRK citizen was recently arrested after attempting to pass $5 million in $100 bills during a money exchange action in China. The individual changed the U.S. counterfeit currency into Chinese currency and then deposited the latter in Chinese bank accounts.In September 2017, The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime issued its report \u201cDiplomats and Deceit: North Korea\u2019s Criminal Activities in Africa,\u201d which skewers DPRK and its diplomatic missions for their criminal enterprises across Africa. The report updates what the CRS noted in 2008, with the addition of an amplified discussion on DPRK\u2019s part in the export of rhinoceros horns and ivory.Bottom line: Expect more cyber crime activitiesDPRK will continue to use their cyber capabilities to raise much needed hard currency for their regime. Indeed, with the newest sanctions levied by the United Nations and supported by China, we may expect DPRK to double down and demonstrate just how formidable a nation state hell-bent on monetizing their criminal activity really is.