Some experts argue that against the backdrop of global crypto-currency mania, the North Korean regime intends to establish control over a significant number of existing bitcoins through the use of virus-extortionists, thefts and mining. This is reported by the NZ Herald.
It is a fact that North Korea has been attacking virtual currency exchanges. We don't know how much North Korea has stolen so far, but we do know that the police have confirmed the regime's hacking attempts.
Director, Korea Internet and Security Agency
The rogue state is primarily attracted by the decentralized nature of the crypto-currency, which makes it possible to hide the direction of financial flows and the purpose of their appointment. Many experts believe that the country uses crypto-currencies to mitigate the effect of international sanctions on the economy.
In May of this year, hundreds of thousands of computers around the world were infected with a virus-extortionist WannaCry, which encrypted users' data and demanded a ransom of $ 300 in bitcoin equivalent. The NSA accused North Korean intelligence of carrying out this global attack in order to attract funds.
Shortly after these events, Recorded Future published an analytical report on the mining activity in the DPRK, which was first recorded on May 17. In addition, experts have proved that North Korean "elites" used VPN-networks to make purchases on the Internet for bitcoins.
The scale of the DPRK's mining industry is still unknown, but experts believe that in connection with the Chinese ban on North Korean coal imports, the country can use its provision of "farms" with electricity.
The main blow of North Korean hackers took over the South Korean crypto exchange, in particular - Yapizon.
The spearphishing we have observed in these cases often targets personal email accounts of employees at digital currency exchanges, frequently using tax-themed lures and deploying malware.
FireEye Security Firm Report
According to various estimates, "department 39" deals not only with gold smuggling and counterfeiting currency, but also owns many restaurants. The report emphasizes that the DPRK acts as a "criminal cartel", so the crypto-currency assets immediately attracted Pyongyang's attention.
This situation has a negative impact on the reputation of bitcoin in particular and the industry as a whole, as it gives financial regulators around the world the opportunity to introduce restraining measures.