Cryptocurrencies are an important tool for North Korea as an independent and unregulated source of income. A new report finds that North Korea increased Monero mining ten-fold in 2019. The report stated that a 300% increase in the volume of activity to and from North Korea’s networks since 2017.
13 February, 2020 | AtoZ Markets – North Korea has expanded its activities of crypto mining Monero (XMR) and has used this activity as a tool to generate income and circumvent UN and US sanctions. Insikt Group, a division of US cybersecurity company Recorded Future, said in a report that North Korean IP ranges increased by “at least tenfold” since May 2019. It is making Monero the most popular digital asset to mine. For the past three years, they have focused on the cybernetic behavior of the North Korean high dome.
10 Times Increase in Monero Mining
According to the report, between January and November of last year, internet activity in the country also increased by 300% compared to 2017. Mining in Monero has already exceeded even bitcoin.
The report attributes the XMR mining can be done on non-specialized machines, such as conventional computers. It reduces operating costs and eliminates the need to import foreign mining platforms.
Monero transactions are also anonymous. So, making it easier for North Korea to “evade attempts to trace funds” and bypass sanctions imposed on the regime by the US and the UN Security Council.
According to the study, North Korea sees cryptocurrencies as a tool for obtaining additional income. The goal of crypto assets is to transfer illegally obtained funds.
But the regime’s mining activity has been obscured by proxy IP addresses. Analysts cannot determine the share of the XMR hashrate for which North Korea is responsible. Although a UN study previously suggested that a branch of the North Korean military was responsible for the regime’s crypto mining activity.
Kim Jong Un’s regime suffers harsh economic sanctions imposed by both the US and the UN. So it is one of the efforts to circumvent these sanctions is through cryptocurrency mining.
Crypto Cyber Attack
North Korea has used Monero since at least August 2017, when operatives involved in the WannaCry attack exchanged extorted bitcoins for Monero. The regime’s bitcoin mining activity has remained relatively static for the past two years, the report said.
North Korea would host a group of hackers called “Lazarus”, which has already stolen more than R $ 2 billion (the US $ 500 million) in cryptocurrencies during attacks on exchanges.
Besides, experts blamed Pyongyang with a series of online attacks. The attacks are mainly on financial networks, in the US, South Korea and a dozen other countries. A year ago, it was estimated that crypto-malware had mined almost 5% of all Monero.
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