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North Korean hackers 'actively targeting global banks'

By Alexander J Martin, technology reporter, in Washington DC
North Korea-backed hackers have an elaborate network to launder money and are actively targeting banks across the world, according to a leading cyber security firm.
Sanctions against the isolated nation may also be driving an escalation in attempted cyber heists, senior intelligence analysts at FireEye said.
The firm was retained by the FBI to do malware analysis during the investigation into the North Korean government hacker Park Jin Hyok and has been following the activities of the so-called cyber crime Lazarus Group for a number of years.The pace of financially-motivated hacking activity from Pyongyang "probably reflects increasingly desperate efforts to steal funds to pursue state interests", the company said.Describing the "Lazarus Group" as an umbrella term, FireEye has now identified two distinct missions within North Korea's cyber operations unit, with APT38 its codename for the financially-motivated attacks.
North Korean hackers 'actively targeting global banks'

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The US continues to sanction North Korea
APT38's operations began in February 2014, according to FireEye, "and were likely influenced by financial sanctions enacted in March 2013 that blocked bulk cash transfers and restricted North Korea's access to international banking systems".North Korea has historically manufactured drugs, counterfeit currency and engaged in smuggling to keep its economy afloat, and FireEye describes the hacking as a similar form of activity.As the regime's intelligence apparatus is familiar with money laundering networks in Southeast Asia, financial institutions there were among the first targeted - however APT38 is now functioning on a global scale.
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