North Korea’s Increased Internet Use and How Cryptocurrencies Might be Responsible

North Korea’s Increased Internet Use and How Cryptocurrencies Might be Responsible

North Korea’s internet use has witnessed a whopping 300% increase since 2017, as a result of the nation’s continuous reliance on cryptocurrencies for several activities.

New research suggests that one of the fundamental ways the nation generates revenue is through the exploitation of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology as well as the transfer and use of illegally acquired funds.

The research, which is called “How North Korea Revolutionized the Internet as a Tool for Rogue Regimes,” was published on the 9th of February by Insikt Group, the intelligence subsidiary of the US-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future. The publication examined North Korean senior leadership’s internet use between the 1st of January 2019 and the 1st of November of the same year.

Crypto as a Device for Embargo Evasion
The research asserts that North Korea has been constantly using cryptocurrency as a diplomatic weapon, with the nation’s elite entities reportedly behind several hacks on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, extortions, crypto-jacking, and cryptocurrency mining.

Along with illegal banking undertakings and financial crimes, the acquisition and appropriation of cryptocurrencies are now used as fundamental mechanisms to generate revenue and evade global embargoes and restrictions, the research explains.

Other Nations Unintentionally Involved in the Covert Operations
Insikt claims that the internet has become fundamental equipment for North Korean rulers, creating not just a source for revenue realization, but also an avenue for acquiring outlawed information like nuclear warhead programs and cyber undertakings.

The research also commented that North Korean citizens who are engaged in cybercrimes were usually sponsored by their rulers to travel overseas and acquire nuclear-related information forbidden by the United Nations.

In 2019, Insikt traced North Korean proxies to 8 nations citing China and India as key regions unintentionally harboring and enabling these nuisances.

The U.N. reports that North Korea realized about $2 billion in 2019 through hacking exchanges and financial institutions.

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Author : Azeez Mustapha

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Azeez Mustapha is an experienced author, trader, markets analyst, signals strategist, and funds-manager.