North Korea is likely underwriting cyberattacks by mining Monero

AlienVault threat engineer Chris Doman explains a new report on malware that mines Monero coins, then sends them to a North Korean university in Pyongyang.

The rise of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin has fueled a lot of speculation about why and where they are on the being used. However, there are countless altcoins that exist—digital tokens that use blockchain technology, but are spendable and mined in different ways.

AlienVault recently released a new report stating North Korea might be mining Monero tokens. TechRepublic's Dan Patterson met with AlienVault threat engineer Chris Doman to explain why North Korea might be interested in this cryptocurrency.

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Like Bitcoin, Monero is a popular cryptocurrency that uses a public ledger to record transactions, however it's more difficult to track these transactions. It's also more efficient to process on computers, he said.

"We're seeing a lot of people switch from Bitcoin mining to Monero mining. It's more profitable to do that with malware, and more anonymous too," he said. There is also a correlation between the rise in the price of Bitcoin and the amount of systems infected. "As those prices rise, so will infections," he added.

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Image: iStock/phongphan5922

About Leah Brown

Leah Brown is the Associate Social Media Editor for TechRepublic. She manages and develops social strategies for TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.

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