North Korean hackers attack South Korean exchange cryptocurrency, stealing bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, which is believed to help the regime of Kim Jong-UN to survive the UN sanctions, reports Bloomberg , citing a study by American company FireEye Inc., specializing in cyber security.
Cryptocurrencies are interested in North Korean dictator because they are not regulated, making them a convenient tool for money laundering and a way to get the cash. “Cryptocurrency is perfectly suited to the evasion of sanctions, despite the volatility of the cost because payments are not processed via a Central authority” – says Sky News.
North Korean hackers broke into English-language news site about bitcoin, which helped to identify visitors. The attack was conducted via phishing emails, virus infected PEACHPIT. Says FireEye, the attacks were the group of hackers to TEMP.Hermit, which is known to attack Samsung in 2015, and maybe for a Studio Sony.
FireEye has confirmed at least three attacks of the DPRK on the South Korean stock exchange in 2017, including in may was hacked Seoul exchange Yapizon, which was 3.8 thousand bitcoins stolen. In FireEye, however, is not unanimously confirmed by North Korean hackers in this attack, however, pointed out that the strengthening of economic sanctions against the DPRK was accompanied by an increase in the number of phishing emails sent on the South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.
In early July, it was reported that South Korea’s largest and the world’s fourth largest exchange of bitcoins Bithumb has undergone to hacker attack, in which cybercriminals stole from accounts of clients of several million dollars.
The attackers gained access to the accounts 31 thousands of users Bithumb, including personal information, telephone numbers and email addresses. According to one of the victims, from his account immediately got lost bitcoins worth about nine thousand dollars. According to representatives of Bithumb, hackers broke into account 3% of customers of the exchange. Access to them, they got broke down the employee’s computer Bithumb, and some data was stolen by using one-time password that users receive when conducting a transaction.
SkyNews reports controlled from North Korea to the hacking group, which the researchers called the Lazarus Group and which, from 2015 to 2016, conducted a series of sophisticated denial of service attacks Swift and stole millions of dollars.
Cyber security researchers have linked the Lazarus Group with the DPRK, but it is still unknown whether it is controlled by the government or the elite of Pyongyang, which is trying to replenish their cash reserves.
The government of North Korea has long suspected of illegal economic activities. Secret state of North Korean Agency known as “Room 39” (or “Bureau 39”) receives income from the black market at least since the 1970-ies. Revenues may reach $ 1 billion a year, including counterfeiting of currency, drug trafficking and gold smuggling.
The author of the study FireEye Luke McNamara says the growing interest of North Korea to cryptocurrencies, despite the fact that the value of bitcoins increased from January 2017 to 400% in early August, the bitcoin has surpassed $ 3,000 and increased to 3400 dollars.
“It is not surprising that crypto-currencies as a new asset class become an object of interest of the regime in many respects as a criminal organization,” says McNamara.
The cost of all the existing in the circulation of electronic currencies in the world at the end of August rose to a record $ 160 billion due to the growth of bitcoin and ether.
“Mining”, i.e. “mining” in the Bitcoin system is not controlled by any single financial institution. The value of bitcoins relative to other currencies is determined by the rate of the free market, like the world’s reserve currencies or precious metals.
To ensure the functioning and protection of the system uses cryptographic techniques, but all transactions are not encrypted and available in clear. An important feature of this system is the complete decentralization, that is, her work is not supported and is not regulated by state or Bank Supervisory authorities.