North Korea Hacks Bitcoin Exchanges Attempting To Steal Amid Bubble Warnings

by | Dec 12, 2017 | Headline News | 9 comments



The value of soaring crypto-currencies is creating a bubble financial analysts continue to warn about, but it’s also making it overly appealing to cyber thieves.  North Korean hackers are now attempting to steal bitcoin, as experts warn of an impending financial dilemma.

Ashley Shen, an independent security researcher, said: “We assume one of the reasons why Bitcoin is being attacked is because the price keeps increasing and we think it’s reasonable for hackers (to target). Digital currency might be easier to gain than physical currency. So I think it’s reasonable.”  Amid speculation only, bitcoin is up 1500% in 2017, making theft attempts by the rogue regime unavoidable.

Shen and her colleagues have tracked the attacks by hacking groups Lazarus, Bluenoroff, and Andariel  (suspected to be North Korean operations) on financial institutions including banks in Europe and South Korea, an ATM company and Bitcoin exchange.

“Before, when we tracked nation-state attackers, they usually perform cyber attacks which are aimed at confidential data and intelligence,” Shen said.  “However recently we’ve discovered that some of the APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) groups are trying to hack financial institutions like banks and Bitcoin exchanges to gain financial profit.”  So far, North Korea’s attempts to hack into bitcoin exchanges have failed.

“My own opinion is they will probably keep doing the Bitcoins because the price keeps increasing and it’s a good investment… So I assume they will do more Bitcoin attacks and of course they will keep targeting banks because that’s what they did before,” Shen said.

One of her co-researchers, who wishes to remain anonymous because they work for a South Korean bank, told Sky News: “Just a few years ago the attacks were initiated to paralyze the society, but for some time now they’ve been hacking for money – so I kind of wonder if they are facing financial difficulties.”

As Bitcoin has surged in value, particularly over the last week, it has become increasingly attractive to hackers. On Thursday, Bitcoin mining marketplace NiceHash, based in Slovenia, suspended operations after hackers stole 4,700 Bitcoin – at the time worth roughly $64m.

“The vast majority of cryptocurrency use is not criminal. Bitcoin is one of more than 1,000 cryptocurrencies and many people use cryptocurrencies to bank or to transfer money or make investments,” said The National Crime Agency. “We do see cybercriminals using cryptocurrencies as one of a range of ways in which criminals try to launder money. But criminals are mistaken if they believe that cryptocurrencies are untraceable and provide total anonymity.”

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    1. Steve

      Amazing that the ‘bad guys’ are always Russia, North Korea, Iran, and/or China. The US, however, is home to the most intrusive and far-reaching digital ‘hackers’ in the guise of the NSA. Time to look in the mirror more…

      • gandhi

        hahaha NK hacks bitcoin. they are using NK to the hilt to be a scapegoat for busting the bitcoin scam. what good is bitcoin if the bankers cant steel your money fair and square?

      • NEC_Wrangler

        you dont need to steal what you already control.

    2. TEST

      No need for the NK to hack our financial system to try to destroy it – the left has already done a perfect job of doing that. Ex. A: The leftist War on Poverty, which has now spent around $20 trillion, and left us with more poverty than before

    3. John Stiner

      There is an amazing amount of greed in bitcoin. When it crashes and burns it will take down the entire economy with it. Simply because main stream investors are jumping in on the action. Everybody is trying to get rich quick and it is a total scam.

      • BlackMoe

        Right about the greed, but I don’t think the entire economy will suffer from Bitcoin’s demise. I do hope it happens though, and soon. I’m tired of hearing about it.

    4. Press 9 for English

      Some people are mining 24/7 and after their costs are making pennies in BTC. Doesn’t sound much fun. And with the block-chain congestion where is the big $$$?

    5. miner

      i have been mining for a month,just playing around trying to learn and i have made over 450 USD.power costs me nothing.
      i was skeptical as well at first,but now i am gonna build better machines and mine my way out of a job!

    6. J

      It’s not the stealing of the bitcoins that are the problem for the hackers. Just like it’s not the stealing of hard currency from a bank that’s the problem. The problem is the ‘spending’ of the currency, in whatever form. Try to go buy a new car or house or boat with cash. Try to deposit or withdraw more than $10k in cash from a bank. The transfer from currency to tangible assets is where the transaction will be monitored. And you better have a good accounting on where that money or crypto currency came from.!!!!!!

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