The Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office has indicted a local executive from a cryptocurrency investment firm and an active-duty military officer for violating the National Security Act by leaking military secrets to a North Korean hacker in exchange for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to the prosecutor’s investigation report shared with Forkast.

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Fast facts

  • The military officer photographed and leaked military secrets through a burner phone after the image quality on a hidden wristwatch camera purchased by the unnamed crypto executive was deemed poor quality, local media reported on Thursday.
  • The executive received US$600,000 worth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from a North Korean hacker, whom he met on Telegram six years ago, according to local media reports.
  • The military officer was introduced to the hacker in 2020 and received around 48 million KRW (US$37,780) in Bitcoin.
  • In January, the crypto executive was instructed by the hacker to purchase a hacking device using crypto received from North Korea, while the military officer shared log-in keys in a failed attempt to grant the hacker remote access to the Korean Joint Command and Control System, the South Korean military’s internal communications network. 
  • The two have allegedly admitted to the crimes, but the North Korean hacker remains unidentified.
  • This is the first known case of a South Korean military officer assisting North Korean attempts to hack through a social network and using crypto. 

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