North Korean Hackers Continue to Target Bitcoin Platforms in Europe and Asia

North Korea has quickly become one of the most scrutinized nations on the planet. That’s not entirely surprising, given its recent missile tests and large-scale state-sponsored hacking operations. It is this latter part which is making the biggest headlines right now. More specifically, there are rumors that North Korean hackers are targeting Bitcoin service providers once again.

North Korea Wants Your Bitcoins

We have seen various allegations regarding Bitcoin and North Korea in recent months. More specifically, there have allegedly been attempts by North Korean state-sponsored actors to hack South Korean Bitcoin exchanges. Although these claims have yet to be fully verified, they are certainly worrisome, to say the very least. According to Sky News, we can expect to see additional hacking attempts in the future. 

The UK news outlet quotes an independent security researcher as stating there is good reason to go after Bitcoin right now. Not only has the value of this cryptocurrency surpassed everyone’s wildest expectations, but it is also more easily obtained than physical currency. More specifically, Bitcoin is non-refundable whenever a transaction is broadcast and confirmed by the network. This makes it a very lucrative target for any hacker, assuming he or she can cash out before people know that a theft has taken place.

Although Bitcoin is purely speculative first and foremost, it has some interesting aspects as well. North Korea isn’t known as being a country where Bitcoin is used, but there might be a vibrant ecosystem there for all we know. There would be little reason for these state-sponsored hacker groups to keep going after Bitcoin unless they had some way to make good money off it. How this is done remains to be determined, though.

The security researcher and her colleagues tracked attacks by various hacker groups including Lazarus, Andariel, and Bluenoroff, all of which are notoriously associated with North Korea. They mainly target financial institutions in Europe and South Korea, but they don’t shy away from exchanges either. As we have seen in the past, multiple South Korean exchanges have been targeted in this regard. Rest assured these attacks will not stop overnight, as things are only heating up as we speak.

Thankfully, it seems most of these hacking attempts have proven unsuccessful. That indicates some exchanges are stepping up their cybersecurity efforts, whereas others may not be on the ball right now. The last thing Bitcoin needs is another major exchange heist, as that would likely send the price plummeting again. Then again, Nicehash got hacked last week, and that incident has not impacted the Bitcoin price in the slightest. That being said, there is no reason to think there won’t be further volatility.

It will be interesting to see what North Korea plans to do in the future. Although it is evident this country’s hacking attempts are done for the money more than anything else, things will only get more intense from here on out. It is not unlikely these hackers will go after darknet markets in the future, since a lot of Bitcoin transactions take place in these circles. A very interesting yet disturbing situation is unfolding in front of our eyes.