North Korean crypto-nukes and this week’s top tech stories

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We are only halfway through October, but it is already worst month ever for crypto hacks, according to a recent report by blockchain data firm Chainalysis – putting 2022 on track to be the worst year ever. Already, crypto worth $3 billion has been stolen this year.

It may surprise you that North Korean hackers were responsible for a third of that theft — $1 billion — according to Chainalysis, far exceeding the $400 million they stole in seven cyberattacks on crypto exchanges in 2021.

But why is North Korea, of all places, diving into digital assets?

It all comes down to a choice – a lack of choice.

The wild swings in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies make it a poor store of value and a terrible medium of exchange.

But what if you have few choices, like El Salvador? The country had long since ditched its own fiat currency – the colón – and legally adopted the US dollar before deciding to give bitcoin the same status last year. Here’s how that experiment goes, by the way. (TL;DR: Not great.)

And what about North Korea, a brutal dictatorship run by a crime family that threatens the world with nuclear armageddon while starving its own people for decades?

Years of crippling economic sanctions and pressure from neighboring governments (mainly China) have forced North Korea to find creative ways around these economic sanctions.

One of the most successful of these has been – you guessed it – crypto hacks.

North Korean hackers have sent crypto worth around $52.46 million to exchanges in South Korea since 2019 in an attempt to evade sanctions or launder money, according to Chainalysis report , which also has caught the attention of South Korean lawmaker Yoon Han-hong this week.

Chainalysis, which has worked with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Europol to track criminal use of crypto, said it arrived at the figure by tracing several intermediary deposit addresses that were exposed to wallets. cryptographic belonging to North Korean hackers.

So what is the impoverished, pariah nation with a GDP of just $18 billion in 2019 doing with its newfound crypto wealth?

Building a nuclear arsenal, of course.

Reuters reported in February, citing an excerpt from a confidential United Nations report, that “cyberattacks, particularly on cryptocurrency assets, remain an important source of revenue” for North Korea, and that independent sanctions monitors have said they have received reports that North Korean hackers continued to target financial institutions, crypto businesses, and exchanges.

Crypto may be in the throes of a crippling bear market, but – as the latest numbers show – that hasn’t dampened North Korea’s crypto ambitions, as it directly funds the only thing keeping the Kim family going. in power.

Written by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai


IT Revenue Calculator

It results

All major IT services companies except Tech Mahindra reported their FY23 second quarter results this week. those most similar to Infosys saw flat growth numbers in the second quarterthey all highlighted the changes they were seeing in the sector due to macroeconomic headwinds and fears of an impending recession in developed countries.

Mindtree posted best second quarter earnings numbers with 27% year-over-year growthwhile Wipro reported a 9% drop in net profit year-over-year.

Interestingly, moonlighting was discussed in our conversations with several CXOs. They agreed that the new phenomenon did indeed present a challenge, and most called it “unethical.”

Here are some of the top IT revenue stories from this week:

Wipro CEO Delaporte is ‘cautiously optimistic’, cites closed deals and strong pipeline

Infosys is not favorable to moonlighting, says CEO Salil Parekh

70% of TCS employees will receive full variable compensation in the second quarter


More layoffs at Edtechs

Edtech layoffs

The edtech sector was back in the news this week with two major players – Byju’s and FrontRow – announcing massive layoffs as they seek to restructure their operations and achieve profitability.

Byju said it will lay off 5% of its 50,000 employees – around 2,500 employees – in what will be one of the biggest rounds of layoffs of any Indian startup. FrontRow said it laid off 130 employees (nearly 75% of its workforce), across marketing, sales, engineering and product, in its second round of layoffs this year.

Meanwhile Vendantu, another struggling edtech startup, acquired Deeksha – a preparation platform for board exams and competitions – for $40 million.

The successive layoffs in the edtech sector reflect the general slump within the Indian startup ecosystem. Recently we reported that late-stage start-ups such as Udaan and PharmEasy use debt instruments such as convertible bonds to overcome the economic boost. Convertible notes convert to stock at a later date and require no valuation to be assigned to the startup.

Here are this week’s important edtech stories:

Byju to lay off up to 2,500 employees in ‘streamlining’ bid

FrontRow lays off 130 employees in second layoff exercise


ET E-Commerce Index

We have launched three indices – ET Ecommerce, ET Ecommerce Profitable and ET Ecommerce Non-Profitable – to track the performance of recently listed technology companies. Here’s how they’ve fared so far.

ET eCommerce Tracking


Technical Policy Overview

Data Protection Bill

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill has been around for some time now, after the government scrapped the previous version earlier this year.

In an exclusive interview, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Computing, told us that the revised version of the PDP Bill is likely to contain relaxed provisions on data localization and cross-border data flow. . This could bring relief to Big Tech and other companies, which had serious misgivings about the previous version.

Some Big Tech companies such as Google are also under scrutiny from the Indian government and its various agencies. India’s competition watchdog has bludgeoned complaints from several news outlets that allege Google has abused its dominant position in the space.

Here are the biggest tech policy stories this week:

Consumer internet companies seek clarification from government on new telecommunications

Reworked personal data bill could loosen rules on data localization

CCI denounces news publishers’ complaints against Google and orders a new investigation


Automatic aggregators clash with K’taka’s government

Automatic Apps

The Karnataka High Court, in an interim agreement on Friday, capped convenience fees chargeable by app-based aggregators such as Ola, Uber and Rapido for rickshaw services in Bengaluru at 10% of the fare.

This excludes the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be collected on the total rate, as before.

The court order comes after a week of legal battles between app-based auto-transit service providers and the Karnataka government after the latter ordered an investigation into their inflated fares and ordered them to halt their services – calling them ‘illegal’ – within three days of the missive.

However, the ridesharing apps refused to stop their services, and Ola and Uber instead asked the High Court to challenge the state transport department’s opinion. Both companies are licensed under the Karnataka On-Demand Transport Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016.

Here are the developments in the ongoing legal battle:

In Bangalore, apps must cap charges at 10% of car fare

Karnataka HC orders state government to hold talks with Uber and Ola to sort out car fares

Ola, Uber and Rapido unlikely to halt car services in Bangalore despite state missive


Other Top Stories by our journalists

Amazon CCI

Amazon is suing the consumer protection body for a fine: Amazon filed a case against the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) in the Delhi High Court challenging an order that the e-commerce platform violated mandatory standards for the sale of pressure cookers

IT companies could halve campus hiring this year: Campuses that are popular with IT services companies looking to hire engineers are likely to see the number of offers for the class of 2023 decreases by halfsuggests a new study by recruiting firm Xpheno.

Brands cower as social media crowds go wild: Brand strategists and advocates have seen a increase in content review requests as film boycotts and brands are gaining traction on social media. Brands are asking creatives and marketers to stay away from religion, politics, or anything that has the potential to offend.

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