By: Jillian Stella, October 03, 2017 (13:33 PM)

Missiles and Murders and Mining’s, Oh my!

North Korea has been a trending topic for quite some time and like most topics in the news, it’s guaranteed not to make you smile.

Unless of course, you are a heartless bum.

In June, the state was responsible for massacring a 22-year old American student, Otto Warmbier, who was detained as a criminal for over a year after crossing onto their soil.

The North Korean regime ruled it necessary to not only punish Warmbier but also his parents – returning him by plane, to slowly watch their son perish, connected to a feeding tube with deformities in his body and brain.

His crime? Stealing a poster from the fifth floor of the hotel he was staying in.

Additionally, with tensions rising amongst Trump and Kim Jung-un, North Korean test missiles were fired over Japan and South Korea – with more expected in mid-October to honor the anniversary of Kim Jung-un’s reign.

What better way to celebrate the foundation of the North Korean communist party that is based on propaganda, murder and now, stealing cryptocurrency?

On a less harsh yet concerning note, North Korea has been engaging in a new mission that involves stealing bitcoins from South Korea to help fund Jong-un’s expensive, nuclear-powered administration.

Poor South Korea – the country is like that little brother who’s always taken advantage of and can’t catch a break.

Experts are saying that North Korea may be bitcoin mining to exclusively build its military resources.

As if they haven’t fired enough missiles already.

Bitcoin mining involves an individual competing to accumulate recent e-transactions and fit each transaction within a complex computing puzzle.

The winner is placed onto the next blockchain or general ledger, and is showered in “block rewards” or newly released coin.

Other methods of stealing bitcoin include:

  • Readdressing a User’s Bitcoin Wallet Password: Retaining the Bitcoin wallet password of a user(s) and transferring the coins to the Anonymous (attackers) Wallet,
  • Hacking Bitcoin Exchange (would not recommend),
  • Commandeering the Mining Pool: Redirecting the computing power to mine Bitcoins to yourself and,
  • Targeting Users Looking to Multiply their Bitcoin: A Ponzi scheme-type website that claims to grow your currency but also exploits users on the dark net.

Thus far, FireEye has found three attacks targeting South Korean cryptocurrency and only one attack successfully laundered the money.

Embezzling bitcoins is one of the most irreversible methods of theft and there is nearly no way to trace transactions performed by the new money owner.

And while it’s unlawful to steal the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin mining is essential to prevent double spending so that all transactions can be documented in the ledger, or the blockchain.

Without mining, the marketing bubble of Bitcoin would burst and devalue catastrophically.

It’s a system that relies and thrives on illegal exchanges.

A matter of which Kim Jong-un can relate well with and most likely will not discredit anytime soon.

Jillian Stella

Jillian Stella is a recent graduate from the University at Albany where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Digital Forensics. Jillian is a Security Analyst and Researcher at Cursive Security where she works with and performs assessment and response services for clients. She is currently conducting research in the area of cyber threat intelligence.

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