North Korea Threatening the East Asia Crypto Industry

North Korea Threatening the East Asia Crypto Industry

According to the report published by the British defense studies center the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the growth in the cyber capabilities of North Korea is a threat to the burgeoning crypto industry in East Asia. Different economic sanctions in recent years have crippled the economy of this country.Different shreds of evidence indicate that this sequestered country has stolen a huge amount of various types of cryptocurrencies through numerous cyber-attacks on the crypto industry especially in the East Asian countries.

Given the importance of economic sanctions being lifted from North Korea, it is expected for the regime in charge of this country to continue its malicious policy regarding making money via theft. In the RUSI report, this malicious policy of North Korea in making money and circumventing international sanctions is considered to be a threat to the growth of the crypto industry in East Asia and the activity of different international companies in this region.

The stolen cryptocurrency is eventually changed into common currencies such as dollar, euro, yen, and yuan in order to provide for the needs of the country. This gives more importance to the issue of setting proper regulations to combat money laundering via cryptocurrency in this region of Asia. The victim of most of these attacks has been South Korea, such that some crypto exchanges in South Korea such as YouBit and Bithumb were attacked more than once. The growing crypto industry in South Korea includes 16 percent of international trades in this field. From the other hand, the existence of different security vulnerabilities in its infrastructures has turned South Korea into one of the main targets of the North Korean regime.

The report by RUSI confirms the information published by the UN panel last month about gaining millions of dollars through cryptocurrency theft by North Korea. According to evaluations, North Korea has been able to gain about 545 to 735 million dollars through stealing cryptocurrencies. According to experts, the WannaCry incident was a signal showing the interest and ability of North Korea in exploiting cryptocurrencies. In the WannaCry incident, the information of millions of systems was encrypted by a windows worm and the attacker would request Bitcoin in ransom in order for the user to regain access to information. However, it needs to be mentioned that the North Korean authorities did not officially confirm this incident.

It seems that East Asian countries need to analyze their security vulnerabilities against North Korean cyber-attacks deeper. On the other hand, in addition to preventive regulation and preventive policies, these countries should provide the needed infrastructures to react to these incidents. Also, the collaboration between victim countries and sharing such experiences can avoid such incidents from being taken place in this region.