Recently the UN has accused North Korea of committing 35 cyberattacks in 17 countries. These attacks were reported to steal cryptocurrency for its nuclear program.
Associated Press (AP) states that UN experts have been thoroughly investigating at least 35 cases of Pyongyang-backed hackers using cyber-attacks. The sole purposes were to raise funds for the military. These attacks have impacted institutions such as banks and cryptocurrency exchanges in 17 other countries. According to the accusation of the UN, the country has raised $2bn (£1.7bn) from attacking.
The full report shows South Korea being the hardest hit as the victim of a total of 10 attacks. According to the article, AP states. The country is host to many cryptocurrency exchanges which were targeted by the hackers. South Korea-based Bithumb which is one of the world’s largest and most repeatedly attacked cryptocurrency exchanges. According to the report, it was targeted by North Korean hackers at least four times: twice in 2017, once in 2018 and once in 2019. Whereas India suffered three of total attacks, while Bangladesh and Chile suffered two each. Thirteen countries are enlisted with single attacks are Costa Rica, Vietnam, Gambia, Guatemala, Liberia, Malaysia, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, Malta, Nigeria, and Kuwait.
According to the UN experts, the high-yield routes through which the North Korean hackers operate are: cryptocurrency mining through infecting a computer and using its resources to solve cryptographic problems; theft of cryptocurrency from users and exchanges and attacks on the system used to transfer money between banks by hacking bank infrastructure to send false messages and destroy evidence of the attacks. These attacks are carried out using just a laptop and internet access.
In another instance, North Korean hackers access the infrastructure for an ATM system and install malware. In another case, the hackers used LinkedIn to advertise a job on behalf of Chilean banking network Redbanc, which connects the ATMs of all of Chile’s banks.
The reported cyber attacks are being inspected as attempts to violate UN sanctions.