Posted on September 13, 2017 at 10:05 AM
Due to the severe sanctions imposed on Pyongyang by the United Nations Security Council, North Korea has been experiencing an acute shortage of foreign exchange, and in a bid to boost its FOREX, the nation’s hackers have decided to target cryptocurrencies as an alternative medium of foreign exchange earnings.
It is on these premises that hackers in North Korea have been launching successive cyber-attacks on Bitcoin since 2016 when the first incidents of cryptocurrency attacks were traced to Pyongyang.
In research on cryptocurrency hacking conducted by ‘FireEye,’ North Korea was found culpable for unethical hacking of Seoul’s cryptocurrency trading. This worrisome trend marks a fundamental departure on the part of Pyongyang from cyber spying to cyber stealing. In the study, FireEye reported that three cyber incursions into Seoul’s cryptocurrency exchange have occurred and all three were traced to hackers from North Korea.
One of the method hackers from the other side of the demilitarized zone uses to attack South Korea’s Bitcoin market is via virus infected emails that steals sensitive information from the recipient once the email is opened or a link in it is clicked. Amongst hackers, this technique is known as phishing.
In furtherance of this aim to obtain scarce FOREX through Malware based phishing, hackers in North Korea have developed different viruses such as ‘WannaCry’ in a bid to shore up Bitcoin FOREX and therefore benefit from the 600% value increase recorded by Bitcoin over the past one year.
Cryptocurrency is becoming a threat to existing traditional international exchange currencies like the US Dollars, Euro, Pounds, and the Chinese Yuan. In a drastic attempt geared toward reversing this trend, the Chinese authorities launched a clampdown on cryptocurrency trading in mainland China. This have had an adverse effect on Bitcoin value in the Chinese market through this dip have not affected Bitcoin’s value in the global market.
Cyber cryptocurrency attacks are not the only unethical ways North Korea is using to obtain desperately needed FOREX. It is common knowledge amongst international agencies and watchdogs that Pyongyang has been guilty of carrying out other illegalities like hard currency trafficking, counterfeiting and the illicit sneaking of gold across international borders.
North Korea’s involvement in cryptocurrency hacking is of grave concern to nations like Japan, US, the European Union, Seoul, and the UK. Because it has the potential of destabilizing the exchange rate of these countries’ currencies – if Pyongyang should succeed in commandeering a major cryptocurrency FOREX, and then exchange the huge digital currency for international hard currencies.
Such a heist like this will not only cause a critical upset in the world’s FOREX market but will greatly devalue other world currencies and spin the recovery of the global economy back into recession. It is even more worrisome because cryptocurrencies are not being regulated like traditional currencies though many nations are beginning to formulate policies geared toward the regulation of digital currencies.
What is of concern to most observers and analysts now is how to tackle the emerging threat of cryptocurrency assault from a nation like North Korea that has shut its doors to the outside world.