15 mins ago |
By Sterlin Lujan – |
North Korea Could Be Targeting Bitcoin Exchanges in Hacking Attack
North Korea has allegedly been involved in unleashing cyber attacks against South Korean bitcoin exchanges and other blockchain companies. These attacks are possibly the result of economic sanctions against North Korea.
A United Press International article elaborated; “The CWIC Cyber Warfare Research Center in South Korea stated a domestic exchange for bitcoin, the worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system, has been the target of an attempted hacking…other targets include South Korean financial technology companies and smaller businesses that use online financial tools.”
Multiple Hacking Targets; Attacking Exchange Employee Email
The media article mentions hackers tend to target blockchain and bitcoin companies. A South Korean news source, Radio Free Asia, said this has to do with the rising influence of cryptocurrency, especially since more people are investing in it.
Attackers have been targeting employee emails, because they want to infiltrate security systems and steal funds. Malicious actors are pretending to be employees or government authorities. The South Korean RFA news site explained what is happening:
There is not one or two exchanges where the attack was attempted. It seems that there is an all-round hacking attempt on the exchange in South Korea. And it seems to be sending (e-mail for North Korea hacking) to find objects such as start-up, pin-tec, etc. dealing with the block chain.
Sanctions May be the Cause of the Attack
Several experts have pointed out the hacking attempts have surfaced as a result of sanctions against North Korea. Sources also suggest the North Korean government is engaged in heavy bitcoin mining. These cryptocurrency funds might allow the country to disregard sanctions.
A South Korean digital currency expert said this nefarious activity is likely occurring, because users can hide crypto transactions more easily. In this sense, North Korea could be generating revenue and making money without having to rely on the United States dollar and other fiat reserves. Their transactions would harbor some degree of anonymity.
The security expert said, “Recent value of virtual money, especially bitcoin, is rising to the ceiling. It have exceeded $ 4,000 per beat. You can conceal the identity of the virtual currency owner by making good use of the virtual currency characteristics. You can take money laundering even if it is hijacked. For North Korea it’s a new means of foreign currency earning.”
According to the United States and Britain, North Korea has already been involved with hacking via the Wannacry malware attack. A Washington Post article documented the connection between Wanna Cry hackers and North Korea back in May.