Kim I1-Sung University of North Korea is believed to have tampered with a Monero, cryptocurrency, mining software that would transfer all mined cryptocurrency to a secret server of their university. The mining software which was developed on December 24, 2017 is assumed to be hacked and running a series of code that would automatically send all the mined currency to North Korea.
Adding more to the speculations, the examining cybersecurity company AlienVault, spread a caveat that the specific North Korean server of the aforementioned University is not connected to the wider internet, meaning it could either be a trick to blame it all on North Korea for cryptocurrency theft or it could be the actual scenario.
Though the accused University officials didn’t comment at once, same with North Korean Government officials at the United Nations, others believe that it all points to the theory of North Korea secretly stealing all cryptocurrecy, given their recent interest in cryptocurrencies and underlying blockchain technology. Commenting on the matter, cybersecurity firm ESTsecurity officials, said, “With economic sanctions in place, cryptocurrencies are currently the best way to earn foreign currency in North Korea’s situation. It is hard to trace and can be laundered several times.” This indicates that the North Koreans are planning secretly to develop new ways to infuse its economy with cash without being dependent on the outside world.
“Crypto-currencies may provide a financial lifeline to a country hit hard by sanctions, and as a result universities in Pyongyang have shown a clear interest in cryptocurrencies. This software may be the most recent product of their endeavors,” the concerned security firm added in a release.
Cryptocurrency intellects believe that the reason why North Koreans are interested in Monero because not only it is the 13th-largest crypto asset in the world, according to CoinMarketCap with a total value of more than $7 billion (£5.1 billion), but also make it more appealing than bitcoin to those who value secrecy.
Monero funds are unlinkable. A one-time address is generated with random numbers every time a payment is issued which makes it less traceable than bitcoin, where transactions can be linked to specific, albeit anonymous, private addresses, cybersecurity experts said.
The Government officials who are representing North Korea at the United Nations are not available for posting any comment. Mun Chong-Hyun, chief analyst at South Korean cybersecurity firm ESTsecurity, said: “With economic sanctions in place, cryptocurrencies are currently considered as the best way to earn foreign currency in North Korea. It is hard to trace and can be laundered several times.”
Along with the North Koreans, this Pyongyang-based university hosts international students as well as lecturers. Established in 1946, the first North Korean University offers high-tech academic buildings and laboratories in a 15-hectare campus in Pyongyang. The globally acknowledged educational institute with 16,000 intake capacity is in the fix of crytpocurrency theft, a modern day scam.