UN investigating 35 North Korean cyberattacks in 17 countries

Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un

Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un

The preliminary report stated that over $2 billion has been amassed from a hacking spree which targeted financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges, predominantly in South Korea.

One attack was reportedly suffered by thirteen countries: Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

This Security Council report states that investigations are underway into at least 35 cases where North Koreans launched cyberattacks in 17 countries with the aim of raising funds.

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb was reportedly attacked at least four times, leading to a cumulative loss of over $50 million.

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

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

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The UN says that South Korea bore the brunt of the efforts, having suffered 10 attacks. Another hack installed malware on an entire nations ATM system resulting in 10,000 fraudulent cash distributions across 20 countries.

A new more detailed report made by the United Nations shows that the organization is now investigating 35 hacks in 17 countries which might have been ordered by North Korea.

According to the report, one of the ways in which the hackers operate is by launching attacks on both cryptocurrency exchanges and users to take control of cryptocurrency wallets with the aim to steal valuable cryptocurrencies like bitcoins.

An instance was cited in the report where over 5,000 separate transactions were sent to different destinations before eventual conversion, making it hard to track these funds.

The panel said it also investigated instances of "cryptojacking" in which malware is used to infect a computer to illicitly use its resources to generate cryptocurrency. Previously, a report had 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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