Sunday, 25 August, 2019

United Nations accuses North Korea of cyberattack on Nigeria, others

North Korea UN Investigating 35 North Korean Military-Funding Cyberattacks
Steven Clarke | 13 August, 2019, 23:01

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.

An earlier United Nations report attributed several major cyberattacks on banks and crypto exchanges to the North Korean regime, with the funds then being used to fund their nuclear program.

South Africa was one of 17 countries hit by North Korean attackers to raise money for its weapons of mass destruction programmes, the Associated Press reported.

The UN experts emphasized that executing these highly complex attacks is of minimum risks and high return. Hackers continuously target and breach computer systems belonging to employees, and then use these systems to make illegal bank transactions and send fake messages, eventually destroying evidence and leaving no trace.

The document to the Security Council provides information on various North Korean attacks and also North Korea's progressive steps to avoid United Nations sanction on coal exports as well as on import of products such as 'refined petroleum and luxury items.' The luxury goods include 'Mercedes Benz S-600 cars.

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In particular, the UN's report highlighted a crypto-jacking incident in which North Korean hackers are thought to have hijacked South Korean computers to mine Monero and redirect funds to servers at a university in Pyongyang.

It should be noted that although the USA has linked WannaCry to North Korea, no mention of ransomware is made in the AP or Reuters articles on the report prepared for the UN Security Council regarding North Korea. This method can be compared to the attacks top South Korean exchange, Bithumb has suffered in the past.

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

According to the article, investigations also revealed cases of "cryptojacking" in which malware is used to illicitly take control of computer systems to gain computational power for generating cryptocurrency.

In the report of the experts seen by the AP, the attacks by North Korean cyber hackers were done through three major ways such as theft of cryptocurrency through attacks on both exchanges and users; and mining of cryptocurrency as a source of funds for a professional branch of the military. It said one report analyzed a piece of malware created to mine the cryptocurrency Monero "and send any mined currency to servers located at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang".

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