South Africa targeted in North Korean cyber attack

Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un

Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un

The United Nations is investigating 35 North Korean cyberattacks across 17 countries, according to a report published August 13 by Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported that the experts behind the unpublished report to the UN Security Council have called for increased sanctions - including the blocking of ships which provide petrol and diesel to North Korea.

Ten of the 35 attacks were on South Korean targets with India suffering three while Bangladesh and Chile had two apiece.

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

After a United Nations report recently accused the North Korean regime of carrying out major cyberattacks of banks and crypto exchanges to fund its weapons of mass destruction programs, a longer version of the report has set out the claims in new detail.

Cryptocurrency exchanges were repeatedly attacked, with at least four hits on South Korea's Bithumb.

It's believed the cyberattacks were used to fund North Korea's weapons program.

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

The report stated that North Korea accessed bank infrastructure and employee computers to attack the SWIFT system, sending fraudulent messages and destroying evidence.

North Korean hackers used three methods to carry out those attacks - 1. As a result, it forced 10,000 cash distributions to individuals working for or on behalf of North Korea "across more than 20 countries in five hours". Stolen funds following a 2018 attack "were transferred through at least 5,000 separate transactions and further routed to multiple countries before eventual conversion".

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. 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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