North Korean Hackers File Bankruptcy During Bitcoin Heist to Fund Nuclear Program | World | New


The investigation focuses on the hack of a South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Youbit on Tuesday that led to its collapse.

Yapian, the company that operates Youbit, filed for bankruptcy after Tuesday’s attack.

People familiar with the situation said there were telltale signs and historical evidence that North Korea was behind the Youbit attack.

Senior Director of the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, Troy Stangarone: “North Korea is an ideal country to use hacking and financial tools like bitcoin.

“They are experimenting with ways to recover the money lost because of the sanctions.”

An investigation is underway, led by South Korean law enforcement and a state cybersecurity agency.

North Korean hackers targeted the same cryptocurrency exchange when it was operating under a different name in April, were also reported.

Officials in Seoul say they are keeping tabs on North Korea’s bitcoin-related activity, which analysts say is being used to circumvent international sanctions.

The announcement comes just days after sources from the South Korean intelligence agency revealed that North Korea was behind a hack on one of the nation’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. earlier this year.

Baik Tae-hyun, spokesperson for the Unification Ministry, said, “We are continuing our efforts to block North Korea’s hacking attempts.

“We are aware that North Korea has engaged in various activities so far to evade sanctions and earn foreign exchange.

We are monitoring North Korea’s bitcoin trend. “

A North Korean cyber army of 7,000 hackers around the world has shifted tactics over the past two years.

He robbed banks and, more recently, focused on cryptocurrencies, according to cybersecurity researchers.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the hacking incidents.

Bitcoin theft could be attractive to North Korea due to the huge increase in the value of cyber currency over a relatively short period of time.

A bitcoin was worth less than $ 1,000 at the start of the year and hit nearly $ 20,000 last weekend.

At least $ 7million (£ 5.25million) in virtual currency was stolen during the Bithumb hack in February.

But due to the skyrocketing value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the amount is now said to be worth over $ 82 million.

Hackers also stole the personal information of around 30,000 people in the attack.

And they demanded an additional $ 5.5 million in exchange for removing some of the information they had stolen.

National Intelligence Service sources also suspect the North was behind the hacking of another exchange, Coins, in September, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

Kim Jong-un has invested money in his nuclear and ballistic missile programs despite crippling economic sanctions that have blocked the export of the North’s biggest sources of cash.

The latest, implemented in September, restricts the importation of oil and natural gas into the North and bans the sale of textiles.

President Donald Trump said the sanctions had succeeded in isolating the hermit kingdom, but warned there was “a lot more work to be done.”

Unveiling his national security strategy in Washington DC, he said: “Our campaign of maximum pressure on the North Korean regime has resulted in the most severe sanctions ever imposed.

“We have united our allies in an unprecedented effort to isolate North Korea, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

“America and its allies will take whatever steps are necessary to achieve denuclearization and ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world.”

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