Bitcoin offers a number of potential advantages over other types of currency. It is decentralized, by necessity digital, easily transacted, and more. On the other hand, though, the requirement that Bitcoin be tied with a digital footprint means that bitcoin accounts, or wallets, are perhaps as or more likely than standard types of bank accounts to be the recipients of hacking attempts. While there are numerous security measures in place to protect against this, hackers do manage to assume control over bitcoin wallets periodically. In the most recent series of hackings, evidence is rising to show that North Korean hackers may be behind the attack.

Attempt at Illegal Financing?

CoinTelegraph recently reported that evidence shows North Korea has hacked accounts worth more than $80,000. While this is a paltry sum compared to the total value of bitcoin available, it nonetheless reveals security weaknesses in the area.

The dollar value of a single bitcoin was pegged at $1,262 on April 24, according to data provided by website CoinDesk.com. The data show the value has increased more than 30% since the start of the year. The current supply of bitcoins mined numbers about 16,293,000.

Those who have pointed the finger at North Korean hackers expect that the motivation behind the attack may be illegal financing efforts for the cash-poor nation. The hackers seem to be targeting bigger and more lucrative accounts. For example, a report by the New York Times in 2016 revealed that North Korean hackers had attempted to infiltrate Polish banking systems.

Researchers tracking a digital trail became aware that those hackers were also making attempts on major targets including the European Central Bank and Bank of America.

Types of Hacking

While some hacks are intended to be disruptive, to introduce elements of chaos or to point out faults with existing systems, these attempts appear to be financially motivated. North Korea has seen its levels of incoming international support and aid fall in recent years as the government has continued to push for militarization and a developing nuclear program.

South Korean analysts have estimated that North Korean hacking teams may total nearly 2,000 individuals. The hacking collective likely employs hackers throughout Asia and in Europe. South Korea's Yonhap News Agency estimated that nearly $90,000 in Bitcoin was stolen by these hackers between 2013 and 2015.

Individuals can take several steps to make their bitcoin wallets more secure, according to CoinDesk.com, including encrypting it with a strong password, backing up the whole wallet in several different places, and using multi-signature transactions

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