South Korea is investigating the North’s possible
involvement in stealing from the Youbit bitcoin
Youbit had been hacked in April when nearly 4,000
bitcoins were stolen in a cyber attack by a spy agency linked
to the North Korean government.
Investigators say they have reason to believe North
Korean agents were also behind the recent attack.
South Korea is investigating whether North Korea was involved in
a massive cyber attack on a bitcoin exchange in Seoul which
caused the exchange to collapse on Tuesday,
The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar
with the situation.
Investigators are looking into Seoul-based cryptocurrency
exchange Youbit, which was
forced to file for bankruptcy Tuesday after it was hacked for
the second time this year.
Youbit was previously targeted in April when nearly 4,000
bitcoins were stolen in a cyber attack by a spy agency linked to
the North Korean government, Reuters said, citing local South
Investigators may have reason to believe North Korean agents were
also behind the latest attack, according to The Journal, given
the proximity and nature of the cyber-attacks on Youbit.
According to Reuters, Youbit announced on its website that
the latest attack occurred at 4:35 a.m. local time Tuesday. The
site did not say how many bitcoins were stolen in the heist, but
did say 17% of its total assets were gone.
South Korean police and the Korea Internet & Security Agency
said an investigation into the attack was underway but they are
still determining the source and scope of damage done, The
North Korean cyber attacks are on the rise
Pyongyang has reportedly been involved in several high-stakes
hacks in recent years.
On Tuesday, the White House accused North Korea of masterminding
WannaCry cyber attacks, which affected computer systems in
schools, hospitals, and businesses across 150 countries. The
malware demanded ransom payments in the form of bitcoin.
While cryptocurrencies themselves are believed to be secure
thanks to encryption technology, some cyber thieves are able to
hack into digital wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges and steal
user information, The Journal said.
And hacking has become a lucrative business for cyber thieves,
particularly in North Korea where
sanctions have taken a toll on its economy.
“North Korea is an ideal country to use hacking and financial
tools like bitcoin,” Troy Stangarone, a senior director at the
Korea Economic Institute in Washington, told The Journal.
“They’re experimenting with ways to earn back lost money from
North Korea has denied any involvement in recent bitcoin hacks.
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