Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

South Korea takes the brunt of North Korea’s cryptocurrency cyberattacks

South Korea takes the brunt of North Korea’s cryptocurrency cyberattacks

Following last week's report where North Korea was accused of carrying out cyberattacks on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges in different nations to fund its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) program, the United Nations (UN) has stated that it is now investigating all 35 cases cited in the earlier report.

South Korea is by far the favorite target, suffering 10 of the attacks detailed in the report, with India next, being victim of three attacks.

Additionally, thirteen countries also suffered one attack each, including 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.

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

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Due to its proximity, history, and number of crypto exchanges, South Korea was the country that suffered the most hacks, with at least 10 attacks recorded so far.

North Korea is also said to be mining cryptocurrency via illicit cryptojacking malware to fund a "professional branch of the military".

The experts noted in the report that implementing North Korea's increasingly sophisticated attacks "is low risk and high yield", and often requires just a laptop computer and internet access. In Chile, hackers used LinkedIn to "headhunt" an employee of the Chilean interbank network connecting all of the countries ATMs.

The panel stated that one of South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, was targeted on multiple occasions. Each attack resulted in losses ranging from US$7 million to $31 million, according to the report.

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. It identified one instance where malware was used to mine Monero and send the mined tokens to servers at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang.

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