North Korea has denied the indictment of massive theft of $2 billion from the exchanges. The country’s official media, Korea Central News Agency released the statement on 1 September 2019, refuting the allegations and accusing the United States of spreading rumors.
North Korea – Rose to Oppose
A United Nations report last month condemned North Korea for using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency platforms, amassing $2 billion and channeling the funds for weapons of mass destruction programs. In response, after almost a month, North Korea rose in action, actively opposing the reports. The KCNA brought into light the statement from the spokesperson for the National Coordination Committee of the DPRK for Anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, attacking the US for diffusing “ill-hearted” tales. The comment termed the US reports as a nasty game for painting the nation’s image black.
Stop me if you can!
North Korea is itself a world of nuclear weapons. Though many sanctions have been imposed on the country to stop the fundings in nuclear projects, it still manages to crawl through the tunnels and do what it desires. According to the South Korean military, North Korea tested two short-range missiles after the US, and South Korea declared a joint drill in the nation.
Pyongyang subsists under a lot of finger-pointing for a string of online attacks on financial networks in the US, South Korea, and a dozen more countries. The core of these allegations against North Korea is its link to a hacking group, Lazarus, that is connected to an $81 million cyber burglary at the Bangladesh central bank.
Government – Let us drive to crime.
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stands distinctly as the nation’s government is itself the sole director of illicit economic acts. Shocking, but true. Today, we witness another stream of this unlawful venture. The country is stealing bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies to obtain fiat money for funding regimes. This can only be done by the authorities considering the facts that prevail in the region.
No Internet, just some nuclear weapons for fun!
Kim Jong’s kingdom is isolated from the rest of the globe. Internet access in North Korea, though available, is strictly limited. It is only sanctioned with special authorization and principally used for government purposes or by foreigners. However, everything sets aside the fact that the internet is likely an unaffordable possession for the public. The country’s self-designed and manufactured gadgets lack social media applications and wifi connectivity. Above all, government surveillance is no mystery.
I’m sure you can hit the bullseye if you guess the crime masters!
The “Hacks” for hackers
The North Korean hackers achieved infamous fame in 2014 after the Sony attack, which came in retaliation for the movie “The Interview,” portraying the life in and of North Korea.
McAfee Research discovered and reported “Operation Sharpshooter” as an involved campaign undertaken by the Lazarus Group. The hackers were announced to be “very, very active” by McAfee’s chief scientist as the attacks unfolded in real-time. They focused mainly on banks, utilities, oil agencies, gas companies, and more; hitting almost 100 targets in the US and numerous other countries. The UN experts probed 35 North Korean cyberattacks in 17 nations. As per reports, there are three ways these hackers operate:
- The money transfer system between banks like SWIFT.
- Theft of digital coins through attacks on users and exchanges.
- Mining of cryptocurrencies.
DPRK possesses golden swords. There is no halt predicted on the development of nuclear weapons in the country. Fearing the relentless growth of unwanted armaments, several states and international bodies have inflicted sanctions against North Korea.
The United Nations had banned exports of coal, lead, textiles, iron, and even seafood and petroleum products. Washington also gave a shot at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapon program but made inconsiderable progress. The United States has been imposing coercive measures on the nation since 1950. In 2017, Donald Trump issued orders to cut North Korea from its financial system, freezing the assets of any companies or organizations trading with the infamously powerful nation.
In 2010, in response to the sinking of the South Korean naval ship, the country commanded injunctions by banning North Korean ships from its territorial waters and prohibiting most cultural exchanges with the horrifying nation. Japan has forbidden North Koreans from entering its boundaries. The People’s Republic of China announced the ban on all imports of coal and exports of petroleum products to North Korea for 2017.
North Korea has invested energy and capital to bypass these limitations and collect funds to facilitate its nuclear operations.
My coins, your PC – We are the cryptojackers.
The domain of weapons certainly procures an army of scammers accountable for an array of bold crimes in the name of money. Not only crypto stealing but these hackers had set for something very superior – Cryptojacking. The web crooks inaugurated a new money-making process by forcing PCs and devices to mine cryptocurrency for them. As reported, around 5% of the circulating Monero is the outcome of cryptojacking.
The Korean Saga
Although South and North Korea are the two countries with the same ethnicity, language, and culture, yet, the Southern Republic of Korea has been a major victim of North Korea’s attacks, be it cyber or non-cyber.
In May 2019, the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange UpBit was targeted. An email sent to the platform’s users requesting their account information was unveiled as a scam by the North Korean swindlers.
In February 2017, Bithumb, the South Korean crypto exchange network, underwent a theft of $7 million in digital money reportedly conducted by its Northern republic.
South Korea – Brother North, You Bit our Youbit.
In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack came out to be the worldwide cyberattack that hit computers in 150 nations. In December of that year, the North Korean hackers knocked Youbit, another South Korean service, stealing one-fifth of user funds which devastated the firm, dragging it down to bankruptcy.
North Korea – The digital nuclear threat
The ascend in illicit activities harming the country, mounted the concerns of the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA). According to the investigation reports by the agency, 5,366 ransomware attacks were recorded in S.Korea from January to September 2017.
An Asia focused financial newspaper, Nikkei Asian, reported the possession of total $670 million in fiat and cryptocurrencies by North Korea through its hacking adventure.
As per reports, North Korea’s cyber skills and financial networks now pose a threat to Southeast Asia’s unfolding yet vulnerable cryptocurrency sector.