U.N. Investigating 35 North Korean Cyberattacks in 17 Countries

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2019

Following last week's report where North Korea was accused of carrying out cyberattacks on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges in different nations to fund its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program, the United Nations (UN) has stated that it is now investigating all 35 cases cited in the earlier report.

North Korea reportedly generated an estimated two billion dollars using widespread and sophisticated cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The news comes after a list of countries including South Korea, India, Bangladesh, and Chile were reported to have become the victims of malicious cyber attacks originating from North Korea. These are the thirteen countries that were attacked at least once: Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

A number of cryptocurrency exchanges in the region have been attacked this year including Binance, Tokyo based BitPoint, and Singapore based Bitrue.

As well as "quasi-legitimate" mining operations, the report investigated 'crypto-jacking', whereby North Korean hackers infect computers with malware.

The report further describes North Korea's modus operandi, saying that the nation employs three "low risk and high yield" methods to grab illicit gains.

It's believed the cyberattacks were used to fund North Korea's weapons program.

The panel recommended sanctions against six North Korean vessels for evading sanctions and illegally carrying out ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products.

The detailed report from the United Nations follows a confidential summary report last week, which said North Korea used "widespread and increasingly sophisticated" cyberattacks to steal the funds for its weapons of mass destruction programs.

This forced 10,000 cash distributions to individuals working for or on behalf of North Korea across more than 20 countries in five hours.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb was reportedly attacked at least four times, leading to a cumulative loss of over $50 million. In one instance, malware mining Monero was sending the proceeds to servers at Kim Il-Sung university in Pyong Yang.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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