South Korea’s intelligence agency has said that North Korean hackers may have been behind the Coincheck hack that saw the theft of $530 million worth in digital currency.
While South Korea’s National Intelligence Service didn’t have evidence to back this claim up, it’s reported to have said to lawmakers that North Korea’s involvement was a possibility, according to a report from Reuters.
Last month, it was reported that Japanese digital currency exchange Coincheck had been hacked resulting in the theft of $530 million worth of XEM, the token for the NEM network.
Following the hack, Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), ordered the exchange to submit a report on the measures it would take to prevent a repeat. The exchange has also vowed to reimburse 260,000 of its customers despite concern from authorities that it doesn’t have the money to do so.
Since the hack, the FSA has said that it will be conducting on-site inspections of the country’s exchanges to ensure that the correct measures are in place to protect customers and their funds.
However, while the question of who was behind the hack has yet to be answered – with some remaining loyal with the exchange – South Korea are placing the blame at North Korea’s feet.
According to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to Reuters they said that ‘it’s a possibility that North Korea was behind the theft.’ They explained that it was likely that North Korean hackers will target the cryptocurrency market because of its sheer size. However, they added that there was no concrete evidence to back this up.
In the past there has been speculation that North Korea has been behind a number of cyberattacks. In Kim Byung-kee’s opinion, who is a member of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee, North Korean hackers were responsible for the theft of billions from digital currency exchanges in 2017, adding:
North Korea sent emails that could hack into cryptocurrency exchanges and their customers’ private information and stole (cryptocurrency) worth billions of won.
North Korean hackers have also been blamed for the WannaCry cyberattack that targeted hospitals, banks, and other services in 2017.