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North Korea mines cryptocurrency… with coal

We have already seen multiple reports concerning the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, although it’s hard to find any democracy there) using government-backed hackers to get South Korean cryptocurrency from various digital exchanges. These hackers are said to be directly controlled by the state military.

Now, with the latest sanctions imposed on North Korean external trade with coal due to multiple violations of the international law regarding nuclear missiles and human rights, the country has coal surplus and mines cryptocurrency using this advantage, according to the research team from Recorded Future. This private intelligence company has contracts with the CIA and supplies the agency with the up-to-date information. Bitcoin mining has lately spiked in North Korea, according to their sources, and, interestingly enough, some DPRK officials use the VPN (virtual private network technology) for purchases on the Internet.

If North Korea indeed mines Bitcoin and makes purchases with it, the U.S. intelligence now potentially get to the corresponding distributed ledger logs and analyze transactions, efficiently improving their knowledge about the finances of the regime. However, hacking remains to be used by N. Korea, and some even believe that this country was the one responsible for the disastrous WannaCry attack.

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