South Korea Blames North Korea for Stealing ‘Billions of Won’ in Cryptocurrency in 2017

| Updated
by Julia Sakovich · 3 min read
South Korea Blames North Korea for Stealing ‘Billions of Won’ in Cryptocurrency in 2017
Photo: axelivarsson / Flickr

South Korea accuses its northern neighbor of having hacked its crypto exchanges, which resulted in billions of won stolen.

South Korea accused North Korea of having stolen its cryptocurrency. The sum of funds that, were stolen in 2017 according to South, amounts to billions of won. Moreover, it is said that North Korean state-sponsored teams are still trying to attack the exchanges of its southern counterpart.

As it has been revealed, the hackers send emails that capture customer information. Such a way of stealing funds is known as phishing campaigns. As a rule, these campaigns involve sending emails through social engineering or en masse, including “official” messages bound for particular companies. Very often in these emails users can find malicious links or attached documents with some malware payloads created for stealing information, account compromise, and surveillance.

The names of the exchanges under attack are not disclosed. Nevertheless, Kim Byung-kee, a member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee, says that North Korea is still trying to hack into exchanges to steal cryptocurrency. At the same time South Korea is reported to do its best to prevent further hacking.

Hacker attacks can lead not only to loss of companies’ funds but also of cryptocurrencies owned by investors. That’s why protecting exchanges and enhancing the level of their safety is extremely important. Still, easier said than done, as new vulnerabilities and security flaws are constantly being detected and utilized to compromise web domains, online services, enterprise networks and home systems. The government of South Korea pays a lot of attention to the security of customer data. That is why back in January it introduced new policies related to privacy, which led to some exchanges be already fined following the new measures.

As experts believe, major virtual currencies including Bitcoin could be used by North Korea to bolster its fleeting economy. Though the exact cryptocurrency being targeted is not disclosed, there are some grounds to suppose that it could be Bitcoin.

At the moment, the leading cryptocurrency is struggling to maintain its 2017 highs of more than $20,000 though its value is very unstable. At the press-time Bitcoin is trading at $7 695,27, according to the data of CoinMarketCap.

It is claimed that there is a correlation between the number of searches for Bitcoin on Google and the number of crypto investors that leads to wallet growth (it was noticed that in December Google searches had been skyrocketing). Nevertheless, currently, there’s no such interest noticed that could lead to wallet growth further resulting in price appreciation.

Obviously, there are a number of different factors that influence the prices of cryptocurrencies. As South Korea is quite an active and  undoubtedly influential player on the crypto arena, changes in the country’s policy on cryptocurrency trading are likely to affect the whole ecosystem, especially since it already happened before –  immediately after implementation of a ban on anonymous cryptocurrency trading in the country Bitcoin started losing its value.

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