North Korea’s Cyber Army Is Hacking More Bank Accounts

A shift in their targets, the DPRK's hacker army is emphasizing finances now.

July 27, 2017 9:52 am
North Korea
This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 14, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the "Dropping and Target-striking Contest of KPA Special Operation Forces - 2017" at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has overseen a special forces commando operation, state media said on April 13, as tensions soar with Washington over Pyongyang's nuclear programme. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Fearless leader might be short on cash.

North Korea’s cyber army is increasingly focused on hacking bank accounts to channel funds to the isolated regime. A new report from the South Korean government says the hacking group has restructured to support the new endeavor emphasizing finances.

In the past, North Korea unleashed its cyber army to send a message, disrupt networks, or steal military secrets. The Sony Pictures hack in 2014, which leaked internal emails, is an example. However, an accelerated effort to improve its nuclear capabilities and the resulting sanctions have left North Korea needed more funds, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Within the state-sponsored hacking group, known as “Lazarus,” cybersecurity researchers have found two divisions called “BlueNoroff” and “Andariel” that are focused on attacking international financial institutions and those in South Korea, respectively. Last year, the Lazarus Group were the primary suspects in a digital bank heist at Bangladesh’s central bank. The group is also thought to be responsible for a widespread ransomware attack.

From 2013 to May this year, the Wall Street Journal reports Andariel hackers carried out attacks that range from infecting ATMs with malware to stealing banking data in South Korea. Law enforcement officials say the tactics resemble an organized crime unit more than a military operation.

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