The number of cryptocurrency cyber attacks has significantly increased over the past few years following the upsurge in their use. Despite the governments’ efforts to put an end to cyber attacks, smartphones, personal computers, and even servers are still being infiltrated by crypto hackers, who later exploit their processing power and mine cryptocurrency secretly. The most recent case is that of North Korea, where hackers are allegedly hijacking South Korean computers to mine cryptocurrencies and also steal personal information. Based on a report given by the South Korea intelligence team, North Korea has been sneaking into the South Korean system for a while, using a similar malware that it used to mine Monero.
North Korea Involved In Various Scams, Targets Monero
A Yonhap news report shows that the North Korean hackers are not only hacking the South Korean computers but are also hacking other countries to steal confidential information. Yet another local news outlet, Chosun Ilbo, revealed that the hackers send the Monero they steal to Kim II Sung University located in the northern part of Pyongyang. Similar cases from the neighboring countries computers are continuing, raising concern among government officials.
The hackers specifically mined Monero which has always remained the preferred cryptojacking asset worldwide. Despite bitcoin having the highest profile for being the commonly used cryptocurrency, cyber crooks aren’t attempting to excavate it maliciously. They prefer Monero probably because bitcoin mining is quite resource-intensive, its transactions can be easily traced, and the bitcoin wallets can be blacklisted or blocked. Monero, however, cannot be blacklisted, located or tracked to a particular person. Additionally, the Monero blocks may be produced after every two minutes, while the bitcoin blocks may take up to ten minutes on average.
Despite North Korea’s interest in cryptocurrencies, the rogue nation has been held responsible for multiple cryptocurrency investment scams. Earlier this year, CNBC reported that North Korean government-backed hackers were targeting South Korean cryptocurrency investors. The hacking group, which was identified as Lazarus, was allegedly using the same tactics used on both Sony pictures and WannaCry ransomware cyber attacks.
Additionally, a report published last week revealed that North Korea was likely responsible for cryptocurrency scams: a fraudulent ICO named Marine Chain and a proof-of-stake coin known as “hodl.” In all cases, researchers dealing with the investigations have revealed that the majority of the North Korean attacks are not primarily focused on the government secrets but rather on financial gain. The shift of focus may, however, accelerate this year since the UN is working on a strategy to cut off the flow of funds used by the alleged regimes to fuel the development of nuclear arms.
North Korea joins Russia and Iran in using cryptocurrencies to avoid the economic sanctions imposed by the US president Donald Trump. As revealed by two independent financial analysts Ross Delston and Lourdes Miranda, North Korea is using numerous international exchangers, shifting and mixing services to mirror the cycle of money laundering using crypto.
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