With Bitcoin gaining more and more momentum in terms of payments on the dark web, hackers now have an open playground for their illegal activities. A recent heist in the amount of $530m (or 58 billion in yen) has been reported by Asia Review, and some experts are saying the suspects may be North Korean. It has been reported by police investigators that the perpetrators are taking advantage of the anonymity and privacy of the deep underground dark web, conducting their currency exchange funds transactions for bitcoin.
Police reporters have informed that the cryptocurrency reported stolen, referred to as NEM, is being used for money laundering services that trace back to a Tokyo-based exchange called Coincheck. Messages on the dark web have been intercepted and have been linked to buyers offering “15% off” on their URLs. At the moment the dark website the hackers are using is unknown. However, Asia Review has confirmed that the links trace back to an English-language site.
The underground world of buy and sell platforms function very similarly to what we see on our basic sites such as eBay. Vendors advertise their products much in the same way, and communications between the selling and buying parties remain secure. Bitcoin has gained its popularity through these means with many illegal activities being uncovered.
Sells and trades of illegal drugs, as well as various weapons and even stolen accounts, are among many of the online business transactions that operate on these dark websites. Asia Review reports being told by an unnamed expert “My best guess as to why someone would do this is because they think they have a safe platform for privacy and not being identified.”
On February 5, Reuters reported that intelligence experts in South Korea are saying that they believe North Korea could actually be responsible for this incident in Japan. January marked the time in which this heist was made known to the public and was since dubbed the biggest online criminal heist in cryptocurrency in all of history.
It´s no surprise that the heist links back to North Korea as they do have an extensive background list of illegal crime networking across the globe mainly in the computer hacking arena. Illegal cyber teams belonging to Pyongyang use their savvy expertise to cheat various forms of money institutions such as casinos, banks and of course, cryptocurrency exchanges. One of these crimes that gained notorious attention in cyber-crime history linked North Korea with WannaCry, commonly known as ransomware that went global.
Coincheck had a few words to say in response to the public outcry of events regarding their online illegal activities. “Our apologies go out to all the victims of our affairs, especially to our customers. Our goal is to establish trust in the community, and we will work hard to put forth a measure of improvement strategies that will solidify our good standing” it said. Coincheck has also promised to reimburse NEM coin customers who were compromised in these events. The heist was later put under an investigation launch by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.