There are quite a few wild stories circulating in the world of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. One such story mentions how North Korean hackers allegedly stole 73 bitcoin over the past two years. This initial report was made by Radio Free Asia, although it is unclear how legitimate their information is. It appears all of this money has been stolen from South Korea, further increasing the tension between both countries.
What Is The Deal With Bitcoin and North Korea?
For some unknown reason, mainstream media quickly picked up on this bitcoin story. The claims of how North Korean hackers successfully stole over US$88,000 worth of bitcoin from South Korea is quite an interesting story, assuming there is any truth to it in the first place. It is believed the North Korean hackers stole bitcoin once Seoul shut down the Kaesong joint industrial zone. This claim is made by a senior official at South Korean cybersecurity firm Hauri Inc.
While it is true, there is a clear correlation between hackers and bitcoin, it remains unclear why North Korean hackers would want bitcoin in the first place. Bitcoin is not officially recognized as a currency in that part of the world. Moreover, it appears there are no particular use cases for BTC in the country either. Moreover, bitcoin is perhaps one of the easiest to track currencies in the world, making it less appealing to hackers and other criminals than most people would think.
One way the North Korean hackers could successfully extract bitcoin from the Southern counterparts is by deploying ransomware. Over the past few years, ransomware has become a significant threat to computer users and enterprises all over the world. It is not unlikely there are state-sponsored ransomware campaigns at work although it will be virtually impossible to back up those claims with credible evidence anytime soon.
For the time being, this entire news story seems to be trying to put things together without providing any real evidence. It is not the first time the media tries to give bitcoin a bad name either. North Korean hackers have successfully committed hacks against South Korea and other countries in the past. However, there has never been any verifiable link to bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to date. It would be interesting to know what North Korea’s stance on bitcoin is, though.
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