Currency analysts have suggested North Korea could now be using cryptocurrency bitcoin to support its weapons development programme since cash flow to the country was cut off.
Earlier this week, Pyongyang has been implicated in a possible bitcoin hack that led to the bankruptcy of South Korean currency exchange Youbit.
Fox Business reported police in Seoul had launched an investigation into the heist, but it remained unclear how much bitcoin was stolen.
Cybersecurity expert Luke McNamara said that the unexpected bitcoin value increase has made the cryptocurrency a perfect target for the needy rogue state.
He said: “The fact that it has appreciated so much in value this year means that it’s attracting a lot of interest from various cybercriminals.
“We have noticed North Korean hackers actually pivot to start going after places like cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea.
Mr McNamara said his company had noticed hackers previously linked to espionage activities for the North Korean government take a sudden interest in bitcoin early in the year.
Bitcoin has seen a 1,514 per cent appreciation in value during 2017, trading at $963 in January and currently worth $15,550.
However, bitcoin has received a great deal of negative press in recent days and seen its value plummet from more than $19,500 on December 17 as a result.
North Korea has been fueling fears of World War 3 with its persistent defiance of orders to abandon its threatening nuclear weapons programme.
It is suggested US President Donald Trump – who has been engaged in a verbal spat with leader Kim Jong-un since Summer 2017 – may be on the verge to unleash a pre-emptive strike on Pyongyang.
Mr Bolton said: “I think the President shouldn’t be waiting around. I think actually we are very close to a binary decision here.
“Either we leave North Korea with this ballistic missile capability and the possibility of putting a nuclear warhead under the nose cone. Or we take military pre-emptive action.”
Mr Bolton also warned about the firepower that North Korea has at its disposal, claiming Kim Jong-un is getting closer to the capability of being able to hit the US with a nuclear missile.