North Korean Hackers Steal Millions of Dollars in Bitcoin
North Korean hackers have taken millions of dollars in virtual currencies like bitcoin in recent attacks over the internet.
Virtual currencies are forms of money that are not overseen by governments but are exchanged digitally and controlled by their developers.
Security experts expect more attacks as economic sanctions drive North Korea to seek new ways to get money.
North Korean hackers have been blamed for a number of cyberattacks in the past, including a computer virus known as WannaCry. The cyberattack affected hospitals, banks and companies around the world this year.
Experts say the fast rise in the value of bitcoin makes it and other "cryptocurrencies" a good target for North Korea.
One Bitcoin was valued at around $19,000 on Tuesday, up from less than $1,000 at the beginning of 2017.
In South Korea, exchanges like Bithumb, Coinis and Youbit have hosted between 15 to 25 percent of the world's bitcoin trading. Researchers told Reuters that there is digital evidence that North Korean hackers have attacked the exchanges.
On Tuesday, Youbit said it had suffered a cyber attack and lost 17 percent of its assets. The attack forced the exchange to halt operations and to seek legal protection from its creditors.
The cyber attackers were not identified. But one cyber security researcher said the attack was similar to an earlier one linked to North Korea. The researcher said he was not authorized to speak about the matter as it was being investigated. The findings have not been independently confirmed.
North Korea has rejected accusations that it has been involved in hacking. Representatives of Bithumb and Coinis declined to comment.
South Korea's Unification Ministry deals with North Korean affairs. A spokesman for the ministry said on Monday the government was considering "countermeasures", including more sanctions, because of the cyberattacks.
South Korea's intelligence service reported that about $7 million in cryptocurrencies were stolen in earlier attacks on other exchanges. The information was reported in South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
Moonbeom Park is a researcher at the Korea Internet and Security Agency. He told Reuters that the amount could now be $82 million after the latest attacks.
Park said the attacks over the summer were "virtually identical" to earlier ones connected to North Korea.
The hackers began by stealing customers' personal information, including names and email addresses. Some of those customers then received emails with infected documents designed to look as if they were from South Korea's National Tax Service or another official agency.
The infected document, once opened, permitted hackers to control the user's computer. The hackers then would get to the user's bitcoin account either on the computer, or on the bitcoin exchange's server. Other researchers said the exchanges were also attacked using fake email accounts.
Cristiana Brafman Kittner is with the cybersecurity company FireEye. She could not confirm whether North Korea had actually stolen any virtual currencies. But she said hackers linked to it had targeted, in her words, "multiple exchanges" over the past six to nine months.
"We believe that some of the criminal activity we are observing, originating from North Korea, is a result of the regime looking for alternative sources of revenue," she said.
I'm Mario Ritter.
1.economic sanctions 经济制裁
The United States plans to tighten the economic sanctions currently in place.
2.known as 被称为
China has always been known as a land of propriety and righteousness.
3.cyber attack 网络攻击
The latest cyber attack seems to be aimed at displaying the North's technological prowess.
4.legal protection 法律保护
Each of these media have legal protection under copyright law.
5.South Korea's Unification Ministry deals with North Korean affairs.
deals with 处理；应付
The declaration deals with disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Our agent in Rome deals with all our Italian business.
6.But one cyber security researcher said the attack was similar to an earlier one linked to North Korea.
similar to 与...相似
The accident was similar to one that happened in 1973.
His stance towards the story is quite similar to ours.
据说，朝鲜黑客是多起网络攻击事件的幕后主使，包括“WannaCry（想哭）”电脑病毒 。今年，该病毒波及了全球的医院、银行和企业 。
韩国的Bithumb、Coinis和Youbit等比特币交易所占据了全球比特币交易量的15%到25% 。研究人员对路透社表示，有数字证据表明朝鲜黑客攻击了韩国的比特币交易所 。
周二，Youbit称遭到了网络攻击并损失了17%的资产 。这次攻击导致该交易所暂停运营，并向其债权人寻求法律保护 。
发动攻击的黑客尚未确定 。不过，一位网络安全研究人员表示，这次攻击与此前朝鲜发动的一起攻击类似 。这位研究人员表示，此案正在调查中，他无权对此发表看法 。调查结果尚未得到独立证实 。
朝鲜否认了实施网络攻击的指控 。Bithumb和Coinis交易所的代表拒绝发表评论 。
韩国统一部负责处理朝鲜事务 。周一，该部门的发言人表示，韩国政府正在考虑对网络攻击采取“反制措施”，包括施加更多制裁 。
韩国情报部门报告称，此前，其它交易遭受的网络攻击中约700万美元的加密货币被盗 。以上信息来自韩国《朝鲜日报》 。
朴文范（Moonbeom Park）是韩国互联网安全局的研究员 。他告诉路透社，最近的数起网络攻击可能让被盗金额达8200万美元 。
黑客首先窃取用户个人信息，包括姓名和电子邮件地址 。随后某些用户会收到携带病毒的电子邮件，这些邮件伪装成韩国国家税务局或其它官方机构的文件 。
只要用户打开病毒文件，黑客可立即控制用户的电脑 。接着，黑客通过电脑或比特币交易所的服务器获取用户的比特币账户 。一些研究人员表示，比特币交易所也遭到虚假邮件账户的攻击 。
Cristiana Brafman Kittner供职于FireEye网络安全公司 。她无法证实朝鲜是否盗取了任何虚拟货币 。但她表示，在过去6到9个月里，与朝鲜有关的黑客以“多家交易所”为攻击目标 。