Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

South Korean Bitcoin exchange shuts down after hack

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Bitcoin fell following the news
Credit
AFP Comment icon Bitcoin fell following the news Credit AFP
Faye Gross | 21 December, 2017, 18:02

South Korean exchange Youbit has announced it is filing for bankruptcy after hackers stole 17% of its net assets. Just in April, the formerly called Yapizon company lost 73 million in cryptocurrencies to cyberpirates. Subsequent efforts to beef up security were evidently in vain.

The cryptocurrency exchange had been hacked once before in April when almost 4,000 Bitcoins were stolen in a cyber attack that the country's spy agency linked to North Korea, according to a South Korean newspaper report on Saturday.

Professor Lee added bitcoin's soaring value coupled with how it can smoothly "move across" borders is the reason why the North is eyeing the market, amid global sanctions curbing the flow of foreign currency into the country. Recent reports indicate that intelligence services in South Korea suspect that North Korea is behind additional attacks against domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, including market-leader Bithumb.

Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies that have surged over the past year, to astronomical heights, but let's be clear, Bitcoin has left most of those currencies in the dust.

Authorities have been warning of bubble risks for some time.

Bitcoin's price is now more than 15 times as high as it was at the start of the year.

North Korea now testing anthrax on ICBMs
North Korea has been developing its missile program for decades, and a test last month let the world know that it has the U.S. There was an unconfirmed intelligence report that North Korea has already succeeded in such experiments.


One problem that the global community faces is that cyberattacks by North Korean hackers are growing more aggressive and bolder with time.

North Korea has been linked to "various activities" to dodge sanctions and earn foreign currency, the South Korean government said Tuesday, while acknowledging the rogue nation's latest bitcoin-related hacking attempts. USA homeland security adviser Tom Bossert on Tuesday told reporters that the country was behind the WannaCry attacks that shook the world in May.

In the WannaCry attack, more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries were locked down and those behind the attack demanded payment in bitcoin to free their systems.

Another cyber attack on about 10 cryptocurrency exchanges by North Korean hackers in October, using emails containing malware, was thwarted by the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA), the newspaper reported.

North Korea has previously denied any role in worldwide cyberattacks.

"The government is monitoring (North Korea's) trends related to bitcoin", Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman for the Unification Ministry, said at a regular press briefing. Hackers from the country, calling themselves the Lazarus Group, hit Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014 after the production company made a film depicting the assassination of leader Kim Jong Un.

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