Worldwide, the interest in cryptocurrencies has grown in the past months. The main evidence is its increased price since the beginning of the year. While some countries are trying to bring new regulations to stabilize the industry, in North Korea things are different.
North Korea is making efforts to secure bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in order to avoid trade restrictions and sanctions recently approved by UN Security Council, according to Bloomberg.
Kim Jong Un’s Hackers
New reports from security researcher FireEye Inc. are showing that the dictator’s employed hackers, attacked cryptocurrency exchanges from South Korea and breached a bitcoin news website. According to the same researcher they have infiltrated using the WannaCry malware and asked a substantial ransom.
While South Korea is evolving and embracing the cryptocurrencies, the attacks are based mostly on the country’s increase in popularity within the industry. It has the most crowded ethereum trading hub, Bithumb. Furthermore in June, hackers infiltrated in one of the employee’s computer and stole customer information. The attacker was not identified.
FireEye’s researcher Luke McNamara, commented that there is no way to show that Kim’s regime has targeted other exchanges besides South Korean, but this idea should be taken into consideration in the future.
“As more money goes into cryptocurrency exchanges and more people buy bitcoin and ethereum, exchanges become larger targets for this group,”
Regime’s interest in digital money
It is speculated that Kim Jon Un’s interest in the crypto space is due to its “lack of state control and secretiveness” and the increasing popularity that the industry saw in the past years. Another interesting point of view is the ability that it gives to the most controversial man on the planet, to use this tool as a way to launder money.
FireEye commented that North Korea’s interest will only continue to grow along with the industry.
“They probably see it as a very low-cost solution to bring in hard cash.”
The high interest in digital currencies seems to come after on Monday the Security Council started to take punitive measures towards North Korea’s nuclear tests. The U.S officials commented that the new measures are cutting North Korea’s ability to export textile goods up to 90 percent.
FireEye confirmed attacks on South Korean Exchanges starting May this year. One of the most affected exchange platform was Yapizon, as the local news confirmed an attack which drove to a loss of $15 million, but the research company stated that they don’t have hard evidence of North Korea’s involvement.
When asked to comment on the subject, the North Korean telecommunication ministry did not respond.