North Korea ‘Hacking’ Banks for Millions of Dollars
North Korea ‘Hacking’ has been created to a network of accounts resulting in moving around embezzled funds. CNN reported that the embezzled funds are most likely used to finance Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons development. Kaspersky, a Russian cybersecurity firm, says that the isolated country is tied to cyber attacks on financial institutions in 18 countries.
Their Routing Tactics Make it Difficult to Trace Origins
Kaspersky recently detected a mistake and a hacker from a group operation, known as “Lazarus” connected from North Korea. As a result hackers were traced back to the country. The hackers had previously routed their attacks from computer services in France, South Korea and Taiwan. This made it difficult for analysts to trace the origin of the breaches. It wasn’t until late 2015 when Lazarus started to focus on banks. This was shortly before North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test and then began to test-launch dozens of ballistic missiles the following year.
It is believed, according to CNN, that the country may have used electronics and shipping companies to transfer millions of dollars. North Korea also established front companies as subsidiaries in China and Malaysia. The New York Times reported that the country may also have begun selling surplus material that is being used to produce nuclear weapons.
Researchers representing several cyber security firms believe that North Korea is attempting to build a network of infected banks to move around the stolen money. An example includes millions of dollars taken from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Federal Reserve in 2016. The money was moved to Sri Lanka and a casino in the Philippines, according to investigators. The heist reportedly embezzled $81 million dollars. Prior to this the FBI said that North Korea was responsible for the Sony Pictures attack.
It is known that North Korea continues to focus heavily on its cyber warfare tactics. The hackers are often handpicked from North Korean universities. They begin their training around the age of 17. They are paid well for their services. Aside from this each hackers family is elevated to high social status and rewarded nearly as much as the hackers themselves.