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The Huge Heist

Cryptocurrencies

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. A cryptocurrency is a controversial digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.

The huge heist

North Korea seems to have a new strategy to overcome international economic sanctions and raise millions of dollars: steal hard-to-trace cryptocurrency. South Korea’s intelligence agency told lawmakers North Korean hackers could have been behind the $530 million theft of virtual coins from a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange last month, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday. Local media earlier on Tuesday reported the spy agency told the intelligence committee North Korean hackers had “probably” hacked into the Tokyo-based exchange.

State-sponsored hackers from North Korea pilfered cryptocurrency from South Korean exchanges last year worth “billions of won,” according to a member of South Korea’s parliament. That’s more than a million dollars, at the least. And the attacks haven’t stopped, either.

Not for the first time

Last September, cybersecurity firm FireEye said North Korean attackers had targeted at least three South Korean exchanges in 2017. Some investigators suspect North Korea was also behind a December heist that caused the Seoul-based exchange Youbit to collapse.

The reports have reignited speculation Pyongyang could be unleashing cyberattacks once again. The U.S. has publicly blamed North Korea for launching the so-called WannaCry cyberattack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe in 2017.National security issues will figure heavily in debates over cryptocurrency regulations. South Korea’s finance minister has assured investors that the government isn’t planning to ban cryptocurrency trading, but officials are still broadly contemplating a clampdown on the market.

The repurcussions

National security issues will figure heavily in debates over cryptocurrency regulations. South Korea’s finance minister has assured investors that the government isn’t planning to ban cryptocurrency trading, but officials are still broadly contemplating a clampdown on the market.

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