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Morning News: New North Korea Threat?, Gaming Mammoth Mulls ICO

  • North Korea Behind New Ransomware Threat?
  • S Korean Gaming Mammoth Mulls ICO
  • Thai Cabinet to Rule on Possible 10% Crypto Tax Charge
  • Ripple Loses Battle to Have its XRP Case Heard on Home Turf

Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.

North Korea Behind New Ransomware Threat?
South Korean security firm Hauri has warned against the rise of a strain of ransomware now affecting computers in the country – with hackers threatening to lock data away from users who do not fork out some USD 2,500 in cryptocurrency. Hauri says the ransomware, named Hermes 2.1, is being spread via a virus that exploits vulnerabilities in older versions of Adobe’s Flash Player, encrypting all data on users’ devices. There are suspicions that North Korean hackers may be behind the new strain, which bears similarities to last year’s WannaCry attacks, as well as a recent attempted crypto attack on Turkey, which also preyed on vulnerabilities in older versions of Flash. Media outlet CCTV News says that the attacks have been directed primarily toward North Korean defectors based in the South and Southern academics specializing in North Korean affairs. However, Hauri warns that all users may be at risk as the virus spreads, and has advised computer users keep their software up-to-date.

S Korean Gaming Mammoth Mulls ICO
South Korean gaming giant Netmarble has announced it will be moving into the world of blockchain technology, and could move ahead with an ICO. The company has partnership deals with the likes of Disney and South Korean entertainment colossus CJ E&M, and has released international titles such as Marvel: Future Fight and Star Wars: Force Arena. The company’s board of directors says it has already begun preliminary blockchain developments, and will put a proposal for an ICO to its shareholders by the end of the month. Bang Joon-hyuk, Netmarble’s chairman, announced, “There is a very strong connection between gaming and cryptocurrencies.” Bang also stated that Netmarble could launch the proposed ICO through one of its overseas subsidiaries. ICOs are currently illegal under South Korean law, although media analysts have recently suggested the government is set to soften its stance.

Thai Cabinet to Rule on Possible 10% Crypto Tax Charge
Thailand is considering a proposal to impose a mandatory 10% capital gains tax on crytocurrency investments. The Bangkok Post reports that, per an undisclosed source at the country’s Finance Ministry, the Thai Revenue Department will ask the cabinet to amend legislation, allowing authorities to begin applying the new tax. The move follows a recent royal decree that, if passed into law, will see Thailand impose regulations on ICOs and cryptocurrency trading. Under the new laws, the country’s chief financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), would be charged with overseeing Thailand’s exchange platforms.

Ripple Loses Battle to Have its XRP Case Heard on Home Turf
A San Francisco state appeals court has dismissed Ripple’s please to have its case against its former partner and fellow blockchain provider R3 heard in the city. The dispute centers over the XRP cryptocurrency, with Ripple claiming R3 struck a business arrangement “on false pretenses.” R3, meanwhile, claims that Ripple broke a legally binding deal to hand over 5 billion XRP. Ripple, which is headquartered in San Francisco, says it will likely sustain “irreparable injury” should the case be heard in New York, where R3 is based.

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