FBI: North Korea initiated crypto attacks to retaliate against strict US sanctions


  • FBI also blamed North Korea for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, the Bangladesh bank robbery in 2016.
  • The US intelligence bodies were working to avert hacks by North Korea.

According to a report by local English daily Korea Herald, the US intelligence has pointed out the economic sanctions enforced on North Korea by the US as the primary reason behind the cryptocurrency-related cybercrimes by North Korean hackers.

The Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) reported that North Korea executed the cryptojacking and exchange hacks in response to the sanctions that prevent the country from developing its economy properly. They were at a conference hosted by Aspen Institute, a civil liberties think tank, and blamed North Korean hackers for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, the Bangladesh bank robbery in 2016 and the WannaCry ransomware events of 2017.  

Tonya Ugoretz, outreach and intelligence branch deputy assistant director at FBI said: 

“Sanctions are having an economic impact, so cyber operations are a means to make money, whether it’s through cryptocurrency mining or bank theft.”

Erin Joe, director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center under the US Director of National Intelligence, reported that the US intelligence bodies were working to avert hacks by North Korea. He said: 

“There is a huge effort in the FBI, and also several other entities across government, looking at ways to stop malicious activity(surrounding) cryptocurrency… “It’s relatively a new thing, and it comes with a variety of issues that we need to learn more about and figure out so we can stop malicious behavior related to cryptocurrency and currency going to places where it should not or it’s not supposed to.”


 

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