North Korea amps up currency scams to raise funds, avoid sanctions, report says

North Korea is turning to cryptocurrency scams to raise money and circumvent sanctions, a new report says. The biggest change in North Korea’s recent cyber activities has been the exploitation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, Recorded Future, a threat intelligence firm, said in a report published on Thursday. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, encrypted digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and they don’t rely on financial intermediaries like banks and governments. In June, Recorded Future researchers began to notice a large amount of data transfer associated with altcoin currencies – a cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin – and discovered a blockchain scam, called Marine Chain Platform, tied to North Korea, according to the report. One prominent Marine Chain Platform employee tracked down by researchers was the CEO, a man named Capt. Jonathan Foong Kah Keong. Foong has been connected to Singaporean companies that have assisted North Korean sanctions circumvention efforts since at least 2013, the report said. “Cryptocurrencies are highly fluid, volatile, and in many cases, anonymous tools that are used by North Koreans to circumvent international identification and financial controls,” Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future and author of the report, said…

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