South Korean investigators are looking into whether North Korea was involved in a cyberattack that brought down a bitcoin exchange, Youbit, in the country.
According to news from The Wall Street Journal, the inquiry into the heist is still in the early stages and could take weeks. However, cybersecurity investigators told the newspaper there are signs, as well as historical evidence, that its northern neighbor was behind the bitcoin attack.
With sanctions raining down against the rogue nation, North Korean hackers have been targeting bitcoin exchanges and cryptocurrencies to drum up money. The Wall Street Journal noted that Youbit, operating under a different name, was also targeted in April. Yapian, which operates Youbit, halted trading and filed for bankruptcy after the hack on Tuesday (Dec. 19).
A team of 7,000 North Korean hackers have overhauled their strategy during the past two years to make money off their efforts, stealing from banks and more recently targeting cryptocurrencies. The North Korean government has, of course, denied the allegations, noted the WSJ.
This week, the U.S. government finally publicly acknowledged that North Korea was behind the WannaCry computer virus, which infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries earlier this year. According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration will be calling on “all responsible states” to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct cyberattacks and to implement all “relevant” United Nations Security Council sanctions.
Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser, Tom Bossert, made the announcement in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Monday evening. “We do not make this allegation lightly. It is based on evidence,” wrote Bossert. “We are not alone with our findings, either. Other governments and private companies agree. The United Kingdom attributes the attack to North Korea, and Microsoft traced the attack to cyber affiliates of the North Korean government.”