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Bitcoin Interest North Korea:

It was observed in 2016, certain actors that seemed to be North Korean were conducting cyber-crime. Their target being banks and global financial institutions. Although, looking at bitcoin investment North Korea, the country’s reputation as a nation that is entirely cut off from the global economy and also a nation that has a government unit dedicated to carrying out illegal economic tasks. This act was possibly carried out to fund the Pyongyang’s elite especially, with them having complete control of their military forces.

A second wave has already begun as these state-sponsored actors are now seeking to steal bitcoins and other digital currencies. It began in May 2017, three South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges were targeted with the intention of stealing resources. According to observations made previously, these actors mostly target personal accounts of employees at these cryptocurrency exchanges using phishing scams. In particular, the attacks used malware called PEACHPIT.

Buy Bitcoin Online North Korea – Activities Conducted by North Korea Against South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges in 2017

 

  • April 22 – A South Korean digital currency exchange, Yapizon, had four wallets stolen.
  • April 26 – The US announces an increased economic sanctions strategy against North Korea. These international sanctions could be the reason behind North Korea’s interest in cryptocurrency.
  • Early May – First spearphishing attempt against South Korea is taken.
  • Late May ­– Second South Korean exchange is targeted.
  • Early June – Increased North Korean activity took place with cryptocurrency service providers in South Korea targeted.
  • Early July – Third South Korean digital currency exchange targeted.

 

The Advantage of Targeting Cryptocurrencies:

If they keep this up and plan to take on an exchange itself, they could be able to control online wallets and much more. From moving cryptocurrencies out of online wallets to sending cryptocurrencies to other wallets and even swapping cryptocurrencies for other ones. Since the digital currency realm is still pretty new, several exchanges might have less secure anti-money laundering security measures which make these exchanges a hot-spot for such attacks.

Conclusion:

As the adaptation of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have increased within the past few years, various nation states have begun to take notice. While many countries are beginning to open new digital currency exchanges or launch their own cryptocurrency, there are some that use it for criminal activities as well. Currently, North Korea is winning over their cyber spying skills but this isn’t long-term either with the advancing cyber powers.

 

Story Credits: fireeye.com

Image Credits: money.cnn.com

 

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Ethereum Hits a New All-time High While Bitcoin Market Share Slips to Below 50 Percent

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Ethereum’s price made the headlines on Tuesday as news of it hitting a new all-time high circulated the web. On the other hand, Bitcoin’s market share dropped below 50 percent for the first time in over a month.

From $19,130 on Monday to $18,191 on Tuesday morning, bitcoin’s price declined by nearly $1000. A 5 percent decline was observed within 24 hours which reduced bitcoin’s market cap to $304.7 billion. While the reason is still unsure, it is observed that the global average bitcoin price has hit $20,000 in several instances unlike the BTC/USD in major exchanges such as Bitfinex and Bitstamp.

Ethereum Takes the Crypto-Verse by A Storm:

As for Ethereum, it had been hovering around $300 for quite some time while Bitcoin was surging. But, the cryptocurrency took December by a storm and ripped the charts by surpassing $800, first touching at $882 then finally settling at $824. Showing a 24-hour gain of 12 percent, with a market cap of $79.5 billion.

Bitcoin Cash Following Closely Behind at $2,500:

Ethereum was not the only altcoin to shine at bitcoin’s fall-out, bitcoin cash price showed an impressive rally of 21 percent. Enabling the altcoin market to rise by $25 million and making their combined valuation to touchdown at $300 billion for the very first time.

By Tuesday morning, bitcoin cash’s price had settled down to $2292 and a $38.7 billion market cap.

In addition, Ripple and Litecoin were also one of the lucky altcoins to benefit from bitcoin’s expense by experiencing an increase of four percent and seven percent respectively. Ripple’s market share now lying at $30.5 billion and Litecoin’s at $18.7 billion.

Surprisingly, besides Bitcoin, the rest of these altcoins had experienced a great rally on Tuesday. While none of them have actually been successful enough to throw off the biggest cryptocurrency, they’re set out to be great competitors.

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A Beginner’s Guide on Bitcoin – The Cryptocurrency

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A Beginner’s Guide on Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency that is autonomous to the government, central bank or financial authorities. In other words, it’s a virtual currency which is only the controlled by those who own it.

Is Bitcoin Different from Traditional Currency?

In terms of usage, both currencies are same. Both can be used to buy goods and services and there are many merchants who accept Bitcoin as payment.

But going deep, we realize that there are some huge differences between the two currencies.

  1. Bitcoin is decentralized
  2. The currency is peer to peer and is only managed by users around the world
  3. Bitcoin transactions leave no traces behind which gives its users complete anonymity
  4. Bitcoin transactions do not need to go through a clearing house like Government, Visa Network, MasterCard, the central bank, etc. which means low transaction fees.
  5. Bitcoins are generated through Bitcoin mining – a process in which miners around the world assemble blocks and work on solving mathematical algorithms to generate new coins.
  6. Bitcoins are finite.
  7. Bitcoins are stored in a Bitcoin wallet and are protected by private keys.
  8. If lost, bitcoins are irrecoverable. The cryptocurrency is not insured or protected by any regulatory authority which makes it impossible to recover in case the coins are stolen or lost.

Who Created Bitcoin?

Bitcoin first appeared on the radar in 2009 and was created by a programmer called Satoshi Nakamoto. The inspiration behind the invention was to produce an electronic currency that would be independent of any third-party influence.

Considering the current situation and ever growing popularity, it’s safe to say that the goal is pretty much achieved.

Is Bitcoin Printable?

Bitcoin guide: I is a virtual currency and is not printable. The only way to generate bitcoins, as mentioned above, is Bitcoin Mining where individuals from different countries form a network which is open to anybody around the world.

The network also facilitates bitcoin transactions, making the cryptocurrency guide its own payment method.

Can We Create Unlimited Bitcoins?

There are specific rules and specification to create bitcoins. It has been decided that the maximum limit for bitcoins would be 21 million and this number is impossible to achieve until the year 2140.

The value of Bitcoin can be divided into several smaller portions. The smallest it can go is one hundred millionth of a coin and is called “Satoshi” – named after the creator of currency.

Final Word:

These are some of the characteristics and general facts about Bitcoin. Putting in a nutshell, the cryptocurrency is growing in popularity and the number of merchants accepting it as a method of payment is increasing each day. So, it’s safe to say that bitcoins will be playing a huge part in future transactions of money and goods.

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Bitcoin Users Buckle-up! Segregated Witness Will Activate on Bitcoin

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It’s Official!

Looks like Bitcoin’s three-year civil war is finally nearing its end now that SegWit has locked-in. However, it won’t officially lock-in until tomorrow, once the signaling period has ended. The network will transition into a “buffer week” for a few weeks where users and miners will be given the opportunity to upgrade their software. Seemingly, after August 21, SegWit will activate and miners will begin to reject blocks that do not support this change.

Segregated Witness was first proposed in December 2015, by Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille. SegWit is expected to fit in more number of transactions in each 1MB block thus reducing the congestion on the network. This has been a conflict within the bitcoin community for quite a long time but it appears to be finally resolved.

Also, other communities like Litecoin activated SegWit last spring.

 

News credit: coindesk.com

Image credits: gadgetsnow.com

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Darknet Market Exit Scams – How Can You Avoid Them As A User?

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Darknet marketplaces are known to have accepted cryptocurrencies since quite some time now. With the majority of platforms accepting Bitcoin while others experimenting with Ethereum and Monero. However, the darknet markets are in for a bit of trouble as many portals are disappearing overnight in what’s being referred to as “exit scam.”

Here we’ve outlined three most recent incidents of to clear this point.

EVOLUTION:

The Evolution marketplace is one that made several headlines on the media, as it was one of the largest darknet marketplaces worldwide. In March 2015, over 40k bitcoins kept in escrow were stolen and they’ve never been retrieved ever since. The coins were worth around $12 million but no one is certain if they were stolen by the administrator or someone who hacked into the platform. Nonetheless, it is still one of the biggest exit scams since 2015.

OASIS:

Oasis is one of the first darknet markets to support payments made with Monero. Although, this portal went totally dark in 2016 when many users were scammed right before the platform vanished. The result was loss of at least 150 bitcoins while the amount of XMR was never disclosed. While everyone believed that Oasis could’ve been one of the main black markets on the deep web today.  Unfortunately, that was not the case which gives everyone on the darknet a warning when it comes to trusting such marketplaces.

EAST INDIA COMPANY:

With a reputation that was usually fluctuating, East India Company was known to be one infamous darknet market before it disappeared in early 2016. To start off with, it was hacked back in August 2015 and lost around 30 bitcoins. It did take them a while to get back on feet as the users gradually made their way back. It was in January 2016, when the platform became inaccessible for a few days, which lead to users having their wallets drained and no response from the admins. No one knows as to how much funds were stolen from the market but it was one of the biggest exit scams over the last couple of years.

Now, if you’re hesitant towards trusting a darknet market but are still curious to know more of the deep web then we’ve got a safer option for you.

A Solution Against Exit Scams – BERMUDA:

Opposite to all the aforementioned markets, Bermuda is there to stay. Despite of being relatively new in the darknet world, Bermuda has got all the attributes to provide the darknet users with a platform where everything – from kids’ toys to adults’ stuff, and prescriptions medications – is available.  Moreover, Bermuda is firmly against the sale of stuff such as:

  • Assassinations or any other services which may be intended to cause harm to others.
  • Live action stuff/hurt/murder audio/video/images
  • Weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological, explosives, etc.
  • Child pornography
  • Weapons
  • Poisons

Trading a potion/all of the above-mentioned stuff is what primarily causes the law and enforcement to ban most the darknet markets. On the other hand, Bermuda has it stated in its market policy to never become part of any activity that promotes the prohibited stuff.

Now, one might think: “If Bermuda only deals in regular stuff, why go on the deep web? Why not just your normal browsers/search engines?”

Well, the majority of online buyers prefer to stay anonymous and buy the desired stuff without revealing their identity. But sadly, this is not possible on surface web marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, etc. So, to achieve that anonymity, they head to dark marketplaces.

However, most the dark markets are involved in illegal trades in addition to selling the routine stuff and most of the time end up getting axed by the government. This ultimately leaves the clients with very limited and often inconsistent options.

Bermuda’s goal is to address this issue and provide dark-web users with a platform that won’t ever go down or get axed by the government so they have a marketplace on their fingertips every time they need to buy some stuff. Some of the key features of Bermuda are:

  • Payments through both Bitcoin and Fiat are available
  • Incredibly fast support
  • Disabled JavaScript and easy html5 design for an easy on-site navigation
  • Free vendor ships;

And much more! Visit the site at  http://bermudagslgcoamz.onion/ and get registered right now for an amazing dark market experience.

You can also put forward your queries to Bermuda through Reddit’s DM feature at /r/Bermudator.

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Pakistan Bans Crypto and ICO Transactions

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The central bank of Pakistan has told financial service providers and banks that it won’t be supporting virtual currency transactions. In a statement on its website, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) suggested the general public that it controls both international and domestic payment as well as money transfer services.

cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes

Prosecution Against Transferring Funds

According to this cryptocurrency ban news, the State Bank of Pakistan will take action against those who use virtual currencies for transferring funds outside Pakistan. If they found anyone using virtual currencies, tokens or coins for transferring money outside Pakistan, he/she will be subject to prosecution according to applicable laws. The State Bank of Pakistan also asked microfinance and commercial banks, as well as payment service providers/operators to restrict those account holders, who are looking forward to carry out transactions in the form cryptocurrencies and ICO tokens.

The State Bank of Pakistan also noted that it doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies as legitimate tender and hasn’t sanctioned or licensed anyone for the sale-purchase, exchange-investment or even issuance of any tokens or currencies.

Risks

The State Bank of Pakistan took the action of the following risks:

  • The closure and fiasco of virtual currency exchanges as well as businesses for any purpose, like action by law enforcement agencies.
  • The number of security negotiations of virtual currency exchanges and wallets all-inclusive, in which huge amount of funds was lost.
  • Virtual currencies are extremely erratic, volatile and the prices are mostly based on assumptions.

Furthermore, fraudsters have started to offer “pyramid style investment schemes” as well and have promised high returns to the general public of Pakistan. The State Bank of Pakistan has also warned that such schemes similar to cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes, can cause some hefty losses to the general public.

RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated that all controlled entities that already offer virtual currency services are required to cut off all ties within three-months. These services include:

  • Maintaining accounts
  • Registering
  • Trading
  • Settling/Clearing
  • Giving loans against virtual tokens
  • Accepting the loans as collateral
  • Opening accounts of exchanges that manage them and transfer funds in accounts including the sale and purchase of virtual currencies.

The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) believed that blockchain technology has a lot of positive applications however, it contends that cryptocurrencies increase several concerns related to the:

  • Protection of customers
  • Market integrity

Preventing financial crimes

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