The United States National Security Agency (NSA) is developing a cryptocurrency that will be quantum-resistant. William Turton, a Bloomberg technology reporter made the claim in a tweet on 4th September. William Turton was in attendance at the Billington Cyber Security 10th annual summit held in Washington DC in which the director of NSA outlined the agency’s plan for the development of the crypto.
Anne Neuberger, Director of NSA’s new Cybersecurity Directorate says that the agency will propose hardware and software standards again. Also notes agency is working to build quantum resistant crypto. pic.twitter.com/IIvjz1aTjO
— William Turton (@WilliamTurton) September 4, 2019
The tweet by Turton just gave a hint of what the agency had been working on and it only contained a slight mention of the quantum-resistant crypto. He did not reveal much, however, the details came soon after the conference was concluded.
Microsoft News became one of the first publications to weigh in on the announcement. They released a report that focused on Anne Neuberger, the director of Cybersecurity at the NSA’s presentation at the event. Neuberger talked about the threat posed by ransomware, hosted by many geopolitical enemies of the United States. Including but not limited to North Korea, China, Iran and Russia.
In her presentation, Neuberger explained how the NSA identifies more than 4000 ransomware attack daily and how they might affect the United States. She also focused on the prevalence of these attacks being a “key concern” for the agency. She focused on two main cybersecurity threat in particular, the cyber influence threat from Russia and the theft of intellectual property and cyber espionage by China.
The NSA’s directorate for Cybersecurity will become operational in October and will handle the above-mentioned cases particularly. She also mentioned the use of cryptocurrency by North Korea to fund Kim Jong Un’s regime and even called their tactics as being creative. It has been long speculated that the North Korean Regime has been initiating crypto hacks inside the United States to collect foreign money for the country’s oppressive regime.
Cryptocurrency in the New Era of Cyber Warfare
In the new era of cyber warfare, cryptocurrencies have become a part and parcel. A country that is able to develop a quantum-resistant cryptocurrency will no doubt have an extreme advantage in the event of a cyber war.
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) charged 12 Russian’s from the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) with using cryptocurrency to hire hackers to infiltrate the Democratic party’s computer networks and leaking sensitive information related to the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The hacks are considered to be a Russian plot to discredit Hillary’s campaign for president.
Moreover, just recently a report published by the United Nation Security Council sanctions committee showed that the North Korean hackers have been linked to more than 2 billion dollars in stolen cryptocurrency in the past few years.
The report links the hackers to the corrupt regime of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. It is believed that the regime is raising funds to invest in its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal. Lazarus, a North Korean hacking group has achieved particular notoriety for its illegal activities. The group has been linked to many prominent hacks in the past too.