North Korean hackers steal bitcoins from South Korea to fund Kim Jong-un's regime Cybersecurity firm FireEye said it had traced three attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in Seoul back to the rogue state this year And another company found evidence Pyongyang was using its coal supplies – banned from being exported due to economic sanctions – to power so called bitcoin mines
The attacks on South Koreas cryptocurrency took place between May and July last year, and one was successful With North Korea being hit with more and more UN sanctions due to its frequent missile and nuclear bomb tests, the country is becoming increasingly cash-strapped Experts believe the secretive nation could be targetting bitcoin as a way to circumvent its money worries and continue to build its illicit military arsenal Critics have constantly complained that bitcoin makes it far too easy for criminals to launder money Jeffrey Dorfman, Professor of agricultural & applied Economics at the University of Georgia, told CNBC: The ability of regimes like Kim Jong-uns North Korea to mine or steal cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is a new reason to be cautious in treating these commodities as currencies
While rogue states have practiced counterfeiting even longer than they have been computer hacking, counterfeiters are easier to catch Once a cryptocurrency is stolen, it is virtually impossible to stop the new owner from spending it, and doing so in untraceable ways Meanwhile, information security firms Recorded Futures and Team Cymru have uncovered activity they believe is bitcoin mining in North Korea Bitcoin mining involves supplying huge amounts of electricty to power thousands of computers for miners to create fresh bitcoins
According to Quartz, the bitcoin network releases 125 bitcoins (about $50,000 worth, at the current bitcoin price) every 10 minutes to a miner as an incentive for checking bitcoin transactions and adding them to the cryptocurrency’s immutable, distributed ledger, known as the blockchain Bitcoin mines are generally large server farms containing thousands of machines specifically designed to mine the cryptocurrency As North Korea cannot export coal, the website said, it makes sense that it might put some coal to use generating electricity for a bitcoin mine
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