According to a recent report, North Korea has allegedly raised an amount of $2 billion in fiat and cryptocurrencies through hacking activities in a bid to fund its weapon of mass destruction project. This news is no surprise as the country has been linked to several cyber-attacks, stealing millions of dollars in Bitcoins. Recently, a group of experts reporting to the U.N. panel of Security Council revealed that North Korea has made about $670 million in addition to the recorded $2 billion in Bitcoin and altcoins through the hacking of financial platforms. Image Source: www.securityaffairs.com According to the report, North Korea has decided a sophisticated way of launching cyber-attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income in a way that is almost impossible to trace. This method is subjected to less government oversight as well as regulations compared to the traditional bank thefts according to the report. Image Source: www.hackread.com In recent years, a number of exchanges have become victims of cyber-attacks, losing millions of Bitcoin to hackers, and leading to a shutdown of most of the platforms. The decision of the country to launch a nuclear weapon has forced the western world to cut financial ties with them in a bid to discourage their motivation to go on with the project. However, North Korea has gone the illegal way to obtain funds to finance its project. The report presented to the U.N. Security Council stated that the experts are investigating over 35 more cases related to financial institutions, mining activities and cryptocurrency exchanges linked to the North Korean hackers. As claimed by a report, the U.S. State Department Spokeswoman stated in response to the report that they call on all states to counter the ability of North Korea to obtain funds through malicious activities to fund the project. Last year, the South Korean officials linked the frequent hacking of a number of its local exchanges to the North Korean hackers. It was stated that the North Korean hackers stole tens of millions of dollars through several such as phishing attacks. CoinCheck, a cryptocurrency exchange lost about $500 million in cryptocurrencies to hackers suspected to be a calculated plan by North Korea. Similarly, Bithumb lost about 8 billion Won and about 30,000 customers information to hackers. One of the largest exchanges in the world fell into the web of North Korean hackers and was accused of failing to protect customers information. According to reports, the employees’ computers were targeted by hackers and even demanded a ransom of $5.5 million in order to delete all customers’ information. Third parties research into North Korea ‘s cyber-attacks on financial activities revealed that they employ distractive malware and targeted ransomware to breakdown the network infrastructure of their victims. Ransomware attack basically abuses computer system to mine cryptocurrencies. The North Koreans are also known to be behind the Lazarus group employed to compromised SWIFT international payment. In 2016, about $1 billion was stolen from a Bangladesh bank through this popular activity. Reports even state that the North Korean hackers had successfully attacked about 14 cryptocurrency exchanges through the Lazarus group from January 2017 to September 2018. The cryptocurrency exchanges have been subjected to extreme attacks as millions of users have lost their digital assets in the process. The Tokyo-based Remixpoint was subjected to an intense cyberattack, making them lose about $32 million worth of cryptocurrencies. Numerous hacking incidents have been recorded in relation to the bullish run of the digital assets in recent times. The recent rise of hacking activities in the cryptocurrency industry has called for exchanges to prioritize and invest in security to ensure the safety of their customers as well as their sensitive data. The action expected to be taken against the North Korean hackers were not stated. However, this is a wake-up call to all cryptocurrency exchanges on the possible situations they are likely to face with vulnerabilities in their security systems. Source: Japan Times
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