Economy

Researchers think North Korea is stealing bitcoin to avoid sanctions

Researchers think North Korea is stealing bitcoin to avoid sanctions”

"Sanctions against North Korea are likely to fuel their cybercrime activity", said Bryce Boland, Singapore-based chief technology officer with FireEye.

Now, we may be witnessing a second wave of this campaign: state-sponsored actors seeking to steal bitcoin and other virtual currencies as a means of evading sanctions and obtaining hard currencies to fund the regime.

They frequently use tax-themed lures and deployed malware and variants linked to the North Koreans who are suspected of being behind intrusions into global banks in 2016, FireEye said.

April 22 - Four wallets on Yapizon, a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, are compromised. However, FireEye noted that some of the tactics and procedures reportedly used during this attack were different than the ones seen in the May attacks noting that there are "no clear indications of North Korean involvement". The spike in activity began soon after the USA said it planned to ratchet up sanctions against North Korea. This trend comes as the price of the cryptocurrency is surging, and also as the worldwide community imposes tough new sanctions on the rogue regime.

Specifically, the hackers began targeting South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.

And North Korea is already involved with other types of illicit currency smuggling, like counterfeiting foreign currency and gold smuggling.

North Korea seems to be ramping up cyberattacks to steal Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that could be used to circumvent trade restrictions and global sanctions and obtain hard currencies to fund the regime.

North Korean hackers have previously targeted South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, stealing bitcoin worth $88,000 (at the time) between 2013 and 2015, according to Yonhap News, which cited South Korean cybersecurity firm Hauri.

If hackers manage to compromise an exchange - as opposed to a single wallet - they can move cryptocurrencies around, then swap them for hard currencies like South Korean won or United States dollars, the FireEye researchers wrote.

The move to cryptocurrencies follows previously identified state sanctioned cyber crimes past year and as the price of bitcoin rockets. Recently, an advisor to President Putin in Russian Federation announced plans to raise funds to increase Russia's share of bitcoin mining, and senators in Australia's parliament have proposed developing their own national cryptocurrency.

Another huge appeal for cryptocurrencies is that there's still very little regulation, though that's changing fast.

Consequently, it should be no surprise that cryptocurrencies, as an emerging asset class, are becoming a target of interest by a regime that operates in many ways like a criminal enterprise.



Like this

Latest


12 September 2017
Scorching new Audi RS4 Avant uncovered with 444bhp
An eight-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox is standard and Audi says the shift points have been optimised for the RS4. Matching the headlamps, the LED rear lights are flanked by vents leading from those swollen rear wheelarches.

12 September 2017
I'm very happy at Real Madrid, not interested in PSG move - Asensio
When Horacio called me and told me that Real Madrid were interested in me, I said that I only wanted to play there". Real Madrid star Marco Asensio describes Neymar's world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain as "strange".

12 September 2017
All-new Porsche Cayenne Turbo SUV gets 542bhp
The wheel arches are a bit fatter to fit its 21-inch alloy wheels, and the tailpipes are specific to the Turbo line, as well. A new three-chamber air suspension with active shock absorbers increases handling ability and comfort.

12 September 2017
Inc. Has $1.18 Million Position in Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC)
On average, analysts predict that Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. will post $3.73 earnings per share for the current fiscal year. Equities research analysts expect that Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. will post $3.81 earnings per share for the current year.

12 September 2017
Prediction: Feyenoord vs Manchester City
City qualified for this season's competition by finishing 3rd in the Premier League last season. The duo who missed Saturday's clash with Liverpool are both ruled out with injuries.

12 September 2017
Gov. Cooper announces preparations for expected Hurricane Irma impacts
By the time the storm moves across the Carolinas Irma is expected to further weaken into a tropical storm. Irma plowed through the Caribbean as a Category 5 hurricane leaving death and destruction along the way.

12 September 2017
Senate OKs $15B hurricane disaster aid
Rand Paul, R-Ky., moved to pay for the aid package by cutting foreign aid accounts, while Sen. It also allows the government to both borrow money and maintain funding through December 8.

12 September 2017
The 6 Most Important Things In Today's OECD Briefing
This decline in income is in contrast to worldwide trends, where average teachers' pay has been increasing. There have been warnings from head teachers that salary levels are contributing to recruitment problems.

12 September 2017
Elderly Belgian mayor found dead with throat slashed in cemetery, shocking country
I have learned with horror of the brutal death of Alfred Gadenne. 'All my thoughts are with his family and friends'. The body of Mr Gadenne was discovered by his wife on Monday evening at Luingne Cemetery, where he was caretaker.

12 September 2017
Thieves steal SUV, trailer carrying casket with body inside
Police say thieves have stolen an SUV and an attached U-Haul trailer - with a casket inside - outside an Albuquerque motel. A couple was taking the body from Oklahoma to bury it in Kirkland, NM.



Recommended