South Korean intelligence officials are pointing toward North Korea as being the responsible party behind a string of cryptojacking cases across the country.
North Korea Continues to Mine for Crypto on South Korean Computers
According to a new intelligence gathering report, prompted by an upcoming visit to North Korea’s nuclear test site by international inspectors, a government-mandated audit conducted by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has revealed that North Korean hackers are continuing to mine for cryptocurrencies using hacked computers across South Korea.
The NIS believes that North Korea is cryptojacking unsuspecting user’s computers as a means to generate cash flow into the economically-challenged country, and is continuing to use a malware discovered earlier this year.
Back in January, cybersecurity firm AlienVault identified a malware application tied to North Korea that was being used to hijack computers and use them to mine for cryptocurrency.
The malware found mines for Monero (XMR), a privacy-focused cryptocurrency often at the center of most cryptojacking cases, before sending it to a server at Kim Il Sung University located in Pyongyang, North Korea. Similar efforts from North Korea are continuing on their neighboring country’s computers, causing government officials to become concerned.
North Korea’s Growing Interest in Crypto Continues
North Korea’s interest in cryptocurrencies doesn’t stop with cryptojacking. The rogue nation is also said to be responsible for a pair of cryptocurrency investment scams, have begun using cryptocurrencies to avoid United States-led economic sanctions, and may even be developing a cryptocurrency of their own.
Last week, a report emerged from research firm Recorded Future that dove into the internet-browsing habits of select North Korean government officials.
The research found that North Korea was the likely party responsible for two cryptocurrency scams: a proof-of-stake coin called “hold” and a fraudulent ICO called Marine Chain. Both investment vehicles were used to scam investors out of their hard earned cash.
North Korea also joins Iran and Russia in considering using cryptocurrencies to avoid economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. Independent financial analysts Lourdes Miranda and Ross Delston revealed in an interview that North Korea is using “multiple international exchangers, mixing and shifting services” to mirror the money laundering cycle using crypto.
In addition, the duo believes that North Korea could be following Iran’s lead in developing its own national cryptocurrency to further its efforts in evading sanctions. The country would then use the cryptocurrency anonymously under the “guise of a non-adversarial nation” in an attempt to cover their tracks and conceal the origin of the funds.
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