US clearly points the figure at North Korea – Wannacry and bitcoin fueling regime
According to the WP, The Trump administration on Monday evening publicly acknowledged that North Korea was behind the WannaCry computer worm that affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries earlier this year. “The [WannaCry] attack was widespread and cost billions, and North Korea is directly responsible,” Thomas P. Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, said in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. “We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence. We are not alone with our findings, either.” Is bitcoin fueling the rogue regime?
According to researchers, a series of recent cyber-attacks has netted North Korean hackers millions of dollars in virtual currencies like bitcoin, with more attacks expected as international sanctions drive the country to seek new sources of cash.
Analysts say the explosive growth in the value of bitcoin makes it and other “cryptocurrencies” an attractive target for North Korea, which has become increasingly isolated under international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Researchers in South Korea, which hosts some of the world’s busiest virtual currency exchanges and accounts for 15 to 25 percent of world bitcoin trading on any given day, say attacks this year on exchanges like Bithumb, Coinis, and Youbit have the digital fingerprints of hackers from North Korea.
Nearly $7 million of the cryptocurrency that went missing from electronic exchanges over several months was swiped using the same sort of malware used to hack Sony Pictures in 2014, according to a report in the Chosun Ilbo newspaper that cites South Korea’s National Intelligence Service.
The cyber-attacks also involved personal information lifted from 36,000 accounts in June from Bithumb, the world’s busiest electronic currency exchange, the newspaper reported.
Is bitcoin fueling the North Korea’s nuclear weapons program? This question highlights the nexus point of cybercrime and cryptocurrencies. The bitcoin and friends, while undoubtedly an ingenious undertaking, have proven to be a heaven sent for cyber criminals.