Internet usage of North Korea has seen a surge of 300 percent over the past three years, as the regime of the country has continued to rely on cryptocurrencies for various activities.
A new study revealed that one of the country’s primary tactics is the exploitation of crypto and blockchain technology to generate revenue as well as transfer and use illicitly obtained funds.
Titled “How North Korea Revolutionized the Internet as a Tool for Rogue Regimes,” Insikt Group, an intelligence arm of Recorded Future, a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, released the study on Feb. 9. The report analyzed the internet activity of senior North Korean leadership between 1 January 2019 and 1 Nov 2019.
Crypto Generates Revenue and Evade Sanctions
According to the study, North Korea has continued to exploit cryptocurrencies as a strategic weapon, with reportedly involving the country’s political and military elite in massive hacks of South Korean crypto exchanges, scams, cryptojacking, and crypto-mining.
Aside from illicit banking operations and low-level information technology work and financial crime, cryptocurrencies generation and theft have become a major tool for generating revenue and circumventing international sanctions and regulations, the study says.
The internet has become a critical tool for North Korean leaders, according to Insikt, providing not only a source for revenue generation but also a tool for obtaining banned knowledge such as data on ballistic missile programs and cyber operations. The study also noted that North Koreans engaged in cybercrime are often sent abroad to be banned by the United Nations for advanced training and nuclear knowledge.
It is wort note that North Korean hackers have allegedly assumed responsibility for a number of South Korean crypto exchange hacks and phishing attacks such as UpBit. North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion by hacking banks and crypto exchanges, as reported in August 2019, according to United Nations data.
Cryptolydian reported earlier that, North Korea Defies The World With Crypto Conference, Encrypts Attendees, Excludes 3 Nations