Wednesday, 5 April 2017

On 04:39 by Unknown   No comments
North Korean cyber attackers have targeted banks in 18 countries with Pyongyang using the money to boost its terrifying nuclear programme, security experts have claimed.
A hacking operation known as Lazarus has targeted financial institutions in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, India and the Middle East, according to Russian researchers.
Cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said it had obtained digital evidence that fuels suspicions that North Korea was involved in last year's $81 million cyber heist of the Bangladesh central bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Security experts fear money stolen from the cyber heists is being used to bolster Kim Jong-Un's plans to create a long-range nuclear missile system. 
Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow for Foundation for Defense of Democracies who tracks North Korea's activities, told CNN: 'This is all for their nuclear weapons and missile programs. They need this money for building and researching more ballistic missiles.'

The Bangladesh Bank heist was one in a string of financially motivated cyber attacks by a division of Lazarus dubbed Bluenoroff, the Kaspersky report said. 

Targets included banks, financial and trading companies, casinos and digital currency businesses in at least 18 nations, the report said.

Kaspersky researcher Vitaly Kamluk told Reuters by telephone that the finding marked 'the first time we have seen a direct connection' between North Korea and Lazarus, a hacking group whose activities dating back to 2009 have been documented by the world's biggest cyber security firms.
The North Korean government has denied allegations of hacking made by officials in Washington and South Korea as well as security firms.

Kamluk said he could not conclusively say that Pyongyang was behind the attacks because it was possible the hackers went to great effort to make it look like they were from North Korea, or that North Koreans were working with others.

Still, he said that North Korean involvement was the most likely explanation.

Separately last month, U.S. officials also cast suspicion on Pyongyang. An official briefed on the probe told Reuters in Washington that the FBI believed North Korea was responsible.

And Rick Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, told reporters at an Aspen Institute event on March 15 that private sector research tying North Korea to the Bangladesh bank heist was strong.
'If that's true, then that says to me that the North Koreans are robbing banks,' Ledgett said. 'That's a big deal.' 

Adrian Nish, head of threat intelligence with cyber security firm BAE Systems PLC, said Kaspersky's findings were significant, even though they did not conclusively link Pyongyang to Lazarus.
'It is significant further evidence,' said Nish, who led a team at BAE that in May 2016 was the first to link the Bangladesh heist and the Sony hack.  


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