21 Dec South Korea’s National Intelligence Service blames North Korea for crypto hack
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service blames North Korea for crypto hack
The digital currency revolution is proving to be extremely lucrative for those who are invested in it. Its combined market cap reached the $600 billion mark, of which over half is attributed to Bitcoin, which set its own records in 2017.
These include recently trading at over $20k, and by enjoying an astronomical growth of over 1,700% for this year alone. In addition, Ethereum has also grown in leaps and bounds, currently trading at over $700.
However, if you failed to purchase these currencies when they were arguably more affordable, you could be having a serious case of FOMO, unless, according to sources in South Korea’s spy agency, you’re a North Korean hacker.
The National Intelligence Service agency has blamed its northern neighbor for the recent hack on the Bithumb exchange, which is the biggest exchange in South Korea. The platform trades in Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The attack appears to have occurred in February this year after the personal PC of one of the exchange’s employees was hacked. However, this threat was only realized in June.
Thanks to phenomenal price surges, the value of the stolen currencies, which was initially set at $7 million, has now increase to $82.7 million. In addition, the hackers stole the personal information of approximately 30,000 people. The cyber criminals also demanded $5.5 million to delete this data.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the National Intelligence Service has also laid the blame of another attack at North Korea’s door. Coinis, another crypto exchange, was targeted in September this year. Another attack was attempted in October, but was prevented.
These hacks could be in retaliation to financial sanctions imposed on North Korea for their aggressive development of nuclear weapons. Because they are decentralized and not subject to government control, digital currencies are an effective way to circumvent these sanctions.
All of the evidence collected in these cyber crimes have been submitted to prosecuting authorities. As in most countries, no regulations are in place for cryptocurrencies in South Korea. In light of these hacks however, the country has declared that they will implement regulations and procedures in an attempt to prevent these hacks in the future.
South Korea joins the ranks of Russia, China and even the EU in imposing regulations against these currencies. This could be as a direct result of the increasing popularity of crypto and its growing integration into mainstream society.