Sneaky Monero Mining by North Korea to combat money woes
A security company has discovered evidence that North Korea might use mining applications to get Monero and move into a Pyongyang university.Running a regime when sidestepping pesky sanctions is a costly undertaking and one which North Korea appears to have tons of expertise in. But, as demonstrated by a California-based cybersecurity company, cryptocurrency might be a cost-effective alternative.
ABC News recently reported that the company, AlienVault, discovered a crypto mining program application, which seemed to be generated last month, being installed on victims’ computers. The mined crypto in query, Monero, was subsequently moved to Kim Il-sung University at Pyongyang.
But to play devil’s advocate, this college also has international students and lecturers, rather than only people from North Korea.
— BitcoinAgile (@bitcoinagile) January 9, 2018
Crypto Could Be the Sanction Loophole
In a recent release, AlienVault stated:
Cryptocurrencies may provide a financial lifeline to a country hit hard by sanctions, and as a result, universities in Pyongyang have shown a clear interest in cryptocurrencies.
They moved on to add the mining applications “could be the latest product of the jobs.”
South Korea also touched on the way crypto and blockchain technology can assist its northern neighbor bypass sanctions imposed upon them. Mun Chong-hyun, Who’s the primary analyst in South Korean cybersecurity company, ESTsecurity, had this to say:
With economic sanctions in place, cryptocurrencies are currently the best way to earn foreign currency in North Korea’s situation. It is hard to trace and can be laundered several times.
Monero Highly Desirable for Its Anonymity
If untraceable is your end game, subsequently Monero is your perfect digital money. Transactions are unlinkable and utilize a one time, randomly generated speech. In comparison to Bitcoin, making it exceptionally untraceable.
In accordance with CoinMarketCap, Monero is among the best 15 digital monies, using a market cap of just under $6.8 billion at the time of composing.
No Regulations Could Make Things Easier for State Criminals
As a result of its lack of government regulations, cryptocurrencies might well be used for criminal purposes. Marshal Swatt, a Specialist in blockchain engineering and fiscal exchange, stated:
They don’t by themselves discriminate between good and bad actors. This makes it extremely compelling for countries like North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Russia and others to exploit these non-governmental blockchain currencies for their own self-interest.
In reality, Venezuela and Russia, that are creating their very own state-owned digital monies have mentioned the Petro and the CyptoRuble would relieve sanction stress.
Past Hacks Linked to North of the Wall
This is not North Korea’s first foray into fraudulent territory though. Another cybersecurity firm, FireEye, previously discussed how the country had set its sights on South Korea’s exchanges in a series of hacks aimed at getting that paper, well, bitcoins in this case, in a bid to work around sanctions.
Sparring with their southern neighbor seems to be a long-standing hobby of North Korea’s. AlienVault reported that a certain IP address that has been active on Bitcoin trading platforms is the same address that was used to control breached web servers in 2014 and 2015 cyber attacks in South Korea.
Even though traditional fiat currencies are also used in dodgy dealings, in this case, because of the sanction-imposed lack of said fiat money, the positive attributes of cryptocurrencies are ideal for North Korea.
FireEye analyst, Luke McNamara, said that “it should be no surprise that cryptocurrencies, as an emerging asset class, are becoming a target of interest by a regime that operates in many ways like a criminal enterprise.”
According to ABC News, Kim Il-sung University has not responded to these comments.