Business

Neil Mathew

North Korea buying nuclear weapons with crypto theft fund: report

While there are many organizations and influencers that are often speaking about how blockchain and cryptocurrencies can change the world for the better, the truth is that there are still some situations in which rogue countries might benefit from them. It appears as though cryptocurrency theft is one of the reasons why North Korea has been able to continue to develop its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, according to a report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for Defense and Security Studies.

It is currently unclear how much cryptocurrency that North Korea has stockpiled, but it is estimated to be somewhere between $545 million and $735 million. Security experts have pointed out that cryptocurrency theft has been big business for the country. RUSI pointed out that the main target of these cyber-attacks has been none other than South Korea.

Some obvious examples are the cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb and Youbit. Both exchanges have not only been hacked, but have been hacked multiple times by North Korean cyber criminals. North Korea’s state-sponsored cybercriminal group, The Lazarus Group is largely believed to be behind the attacks. There are other aliases for the organization, including “Unit 180” and “Bureau 121,” although there is a significant amount of debate as to whether these include the same members of the Lazarus Group or not.

One of the reasons that North Korea has specifically targeted cryptocurrency is because of South Korea’s interest in the sector. There has been much discussion about just how interested millennials were in cryptocurrency investing, and some are still recovering from the massive correction of the cryptocurrency markets after the 2017 bullrun. In addition, RUSI concluded that these South Korean crypto exchanges were extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks, as well.

One wild card in the entire situation is the fact that the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, appears to be receptive to another meeting with the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would be open to a third meeting. The two world leaders met twice in 2018, once in Hanoi and once in Singapore.

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