United Nations experts are investigating North Korea’s use of cyberattacks in Malta and 16 other countries, which are believed to generate an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs.
A leaked report seen by Reuters and Associated Press claims that the state is using increasingly sophisticated cyber activities to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges in particular.
It is believed that the cyberattack referenced is the €13 million hack of BOV last February. The bank has so far been able to recover €10 million.
Countries affected by the attack include South Korea, India, Bangladesh, Chile, Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam.
The report looks at three key ways the cyber-attacks are conducted.
The first is through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT system used to transfer money between banks, “with bank employee computers and infrastructure accessed to send fraudulent messages and destroy evidence.”
The second is through theft of cryptocurrency “through attacks on both exchanges and users.”
And finally, through the “mining of cryptocurrency as a source of funds for a professional branch of the military.”
In South Korea, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges was hit four times by such attacks, with a loss believed to be more than $55 million.
The North Korean state has also been able to evade the strict sanctions placed upon it through ship-to-ship transfers.