Priscilla Moriuchi, an ex-US National Security Agency officer, made the claim on a radio program called Radio Free Asia where she said North Korea was using ransomware to harvest cryptocurrency.
Here’s what she said: “I would bet that these coins are being turned into something – currency or physical goods – that are supporting North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme.”
Moriuchi believes North Korea’s hacking techniques could have reaped as many as 11,000 bitcoins.
She believes that during the cryptocurrency’s stratospheric December price rise, where the cost of a single Bitcoin shot up to $US 20,000, that haul could have been worth as much as $US 220m.
Moriuchi said North Korea operates from multiple bases across the world and not just from its home. “North Korea cyber operators sent to these foreign operations bases have two jobs. One, to conduct the operations that the North Korean regime tells them to conduct. And two, to earn money. The majority of that money, about 80 to 90 percent, is sent back to the regime, and only a small amount is for the operators themselves to keep,” she added.
As per certain security analysts, hacker cells have operational hubs in international locations. There are even inquiries on whether North Korea hackers are operational in other countries aside from China and India.
There also have been noted speculations that the North is possibility forming a state-sponsored army beyond the range of traditional banking systems to concentrate in the stealing of cryptocurrencies. South Korean cryptocurrency exchange was a target for North Korean criminals in December, swindling about $7 million worth of cryptocurrency and driving Youbit into bankruptcy.
Read this for more details: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/05/north-korea-may-have-made-much-200-million-bitcoin-according/
Previously, North Korea has already been accused of a number of cyber-related crimes, which has involved payment being made through bitcoin for the release of files. One example is the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries. In December, the U.S. accused North Korea of the cyber attack, which saw malicious malware bringing businesses, schools, and hospitals to its knees.
The hacking at Coincheck has been the biggest recorded cryptocurrency theft so far. Tokyo-based Mt Gox filed for insolvency in 2014 after having lost $480m in a hack.