Dec 17, 2019
Priscilla Moriuchi, director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future and non-resident fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, explains North Korean usage of the internet and how it has changed over time, how it is reserved only for the few most senior people in the regime, and what the mobile devices of the other 25 million citizens connects to, and who is watching the activity on those devices. She also describes the various ways North Korea has shown an interest in cryptocurrency, how it's been determined that North Korea is engaging in those activities, such as cryptocurrency exchange hacks and malware, and its seeming interest in Monero. We also discuss how they convert crypto to fiat, and how well the government seems to have connected its cryptocurrency activities with its other real-world criminal networks used for other activities such as smuggling, drugs and counterfeiting cigarettes and US dollars. We also talk about which North Koreans have been trained to carry out such attacks and how and why they carry them out abroad rather than in North Korea. She also covers why Ethereum researcher Virgil Griffith's visit to North Korea, even if he were dispensing "public" information, would have been helpful in a country where everyone but a tiny elite is denied access to the internet.
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Priscilla Moriuchi: https://www.linkedin.com/in/priscilla-moriuchi-410297127/
Recorded Future: https://www.recordedfuture.com
Recorded Future on North Korea’s internet activity: https://www.recordedfuture.com/north-korea-internet-activity/
Recorded Future report on North Korea’s interest in cryptocurrency: https://www.recordedfuture.com/north-korea-cryptocurrency/
Full report: North Korea targeting South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges: https://www.recordedfuture.com/north-korea-cryptocurrency-campaign/
Priscilla on why Virgil’s attendance at a blockchain conference in North Korea was helpful to the regime: https://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-virgil-griffith-cryptocurrencies-bad-idea-analyst-2019-12
Priscilla on how North Korea uses cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions: https://www.vox.com/world/2018/2/28/17055762/north-korea-sanctions-bitcoin-nuclear-weapons
North Korea’s interest in Monero: https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-north-korea-hackers-mine-cryptocurrency-abroad-1515420004
North Korea’s plan to build its own version of the Petro, I mean, Bitcoin: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9ke3ae/north-korea-is-building-its-own-bitcoin
DOJ Complaint against Virgil: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/1222646/download
Virgil’s Facebook post inviting others to North Korea: https://www.facebook.com/virgil.gr/posts/10112756681859159