Tokyo/Seoul — North Korea appears to be stepping up efforts to secure bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that could be used to avoid additional trade restrictions. North Korean hackers are increasing their attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea and related sites, according to a new report from security researcher FireEye. They also breached an English-language bitcoin news website and collected bitcoin ransom payments from global victims of the malware WannaCry, according to the researcher. Kim’s apparent interest in cryptocurrencies comes amid rising prices and popularity. The same factors that have driven their success — lack of state control and secretiveness — would make them useful fundraising and money-laundering tools for a man threatening to use nuclear weapons against the US. With tougher sanctions just approved, and usage of cryptocurrencies broadening, security experts say North Korea’s embrace of digital cash will only increase. "We definitely see sanctions b...

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