Experts at the United Nations have said that they are probing at least 35 instances of cyberattacks by North Koreans in 17 countries
Experts claim that North Korean cyberattacks have been executed in an attempt to illegally raise money for weapons of mass destruction programs. At least $2 billion has been raised from the cyberattacks against financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges.
The neighbouring country of South Korea was the worst hit with as many as 10 North Korean cyberattacks, followed by India which suffered three attacks. Bangladesh and Chila were the victims of two attacks each.
Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia, and Vietnam suffered one attack each.
In its detailed report, the UN stated that hackers are using different ways to execute the attacks. The first method incorporates hacking through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication or SWIFT system, which is used to transfer money between banks.
Another method used by hackers is the theft of cryptocurrency, which includes “attacks on both exchanges and users”. South Korea’s Bithumb, which is one of the prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has been attacked as many as four times, as per reports. The experts further mentioned that executing cyberattacks ‘is low risk and high yield” as it often requires only a laptop computer and access to the internet.
UN experts have asserted that they are probing these attacks as violations of UN sanctions. The UN panel investigating the cyberattacks has recommended sanctions against six North Korean vessels for allegedly evading sanctions and carrying out ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum products illegally.
Sanctions have also been recommended against the captain, owner and the parent company of Wise Honest, a North Korean flagged vessel which was detained by Indonesia in 2018 for illegally shipping coal.