North Korea mining for cryptocurrency, sending coins to Kim Il-sung University


“가상화폐 채굴지시-김일성대 서버로 이전하는 악성코드 발견”
A U.S.-based cybersecurity firm has discovered software that installs code for mining cryptocurrency and sends mined coins to a North Korean university.
This appears to be the latest effort by Pyongyang to find an alternative stream of revenue,… as intensified UN sanctions continue to bite.
Park Soyun reports.
Cyber firm AlienVault says it has found software created late last month, that uses host computers to mine a cryptocurrency called Monero and sends the coins to Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang.
It says the North Korean server, however, is not connected to the wider internet, raising the possibility that it was included to trick observers into connecting the software to North Korea.
The university hosts students and professors who aren’t North Korean, meaning North Korea may not be behind the mining.
Cryptocurrency watchers say Monero — 13th largest crypto asset in the world with a value of more than seven billion U.S. dollars — is a particularly appealing choice of payment among cyber criminals, as it’s easier to hide and launder compared to Bitcoin.
There have also been previous reports of North Koreans mining Monero.
A North Korean hacking group called Andariel penetrated a server of a South Korean company in 2017 and used it to mine 70 Monero coins worth 25-thousand dollars.
Christopher Doman, a security researcher at AlienVault said North Korea has certainly been linked to other cryptocurrency mining campaigns.
AlienVault reported that one North Korean IP address has been active in Bitcoin trading and was related to cyberattacks in South Korea in 2014 and 2015.
North Korea has shown increased interest in cryptocurrencies — Pyongyang University of Science and Technology recently invited foreign experts to lecture on cryptocurrences.
As North Korea widens its hunt for cash under the highest level of sanctions in history, Pyongyang is hoping cryptocurrencies may provide an alternative source of financial income.
Park Soyun, Arirang News.

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