Multiple North Korean Cryptocurrency Hacks Under UN Investigation

Remigio Civitarese
Августа 13, 2019

The new lengthier version of the report, seen by Associated Press, sets out that North Korea may have carried out at least 35 hacks in 17 countries and that the US experts are investigating.

The report which was released on August 6, was researched by "independent experts" and submitted to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee pointing out the fact that the country made use of "widespread and increasingly sophisticated" hacks to gather $2 billion.

The detailed report indicates that South Korea was hit hardest from North Korean cyberattacks with ten victims, followed by India with three, and Bangladesh and Chile with two each, as reported by the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

A further 13 countries including Kuwait, Nigeria, Poland, and South Africa were all affected once.

United Nations investigators said South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, has been hacked at least four times.

The report to the Security Council gives details on some of the North Korean cyberattacks as well as the country's successful efforts to evade sanctions on coal exports in addition to imports of refined petroleum products and luxury items including Mercedes Benz S-600 cars.

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.

The hackers also carried out cyberattacks through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) used to transfer money between banks.

- And "mining of cryptocurrency as a source of funds for a professional branch of the military".

The attacks include cryptocurrency exchange hacks and crypto-jacking campaigns.

The panel stated that one of South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, was targeted on multiple occasions. The first two attacks (in 2017) each resulted in losses of around $7 million, while the second two attacks (in June 2018 and March 2019) leading to the loss of $31 million and $20 million, respectively.

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 one instance, malware mining Monero was sending the proceeds to servers at Kim Il-Sung university in Pyong Yang.

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