N. Korea Continues Hacking Attempts on Domestic Cryptocurrency Platforms


Reclusive North Korea has been implicated in exchange hacks and scams on numerous occasions, as well as unsuccessful attempts at stealing cryptocurrencies from trading sites, as previously reported.

It has also said that South Korean authorities are investigating whether this could be linked to the same people who carried out last month's attack on Coincheck, when more than $500 million in cryptocurrency was also stolen.

North Korea already stole tens of billions of won of digital currencies from South Korea through hacking attacks and is still trying to attack cryptocurrency exchanges this year as well.

The person said the virtual coin market remains a likely target for North Korean hackers due to its sheer size and light regulation but that there was no firm evidence the North was responsible.

Ruling Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Byung-kee said Monday that the spy agency made the assessment in a report submitted to the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck's signboard is pictured in front of a building where their office is located in Tokyo, Japan Feb. 2, 2018.

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The reports have reignited speculation Pyongyang could be unleashing cyberattacks once again.

The South Korean agency also briefed parliament on Monday that North Korea's theft of cryptocurrency from the South previous year was on the scale of tens of millions of dollars.

Cybersecurity experts say North Korea has master-minded a growing number of crypto-heists in past years, as Kim Jong Un's hermit regime seeks capital to bankroll its nuclear weapons program and circumvent tough global sanctions.

Recently, Coincheck, one of Japan's and Asia's largest cryptocurrency exchange, was hit by the biggest hack in the history of cryptocurrency in which 58 billion Yen ($534 million) worth of the virtual currency "NEM (Nemu)" was stolen from its digital wallets.

Following the Coincheck hack on January 26, the Japanese exchange temporarily halted its operations.

"We acknowledge how we deal with cyber attack is an important issue for our nation's security, crisis management and the economic growth", Suga told reporters in his regular morning presser.