North Korea’s Long History of Hacking

North Korea’s Long History of Hacking

Security researchers have flagged a possible link between North Korea and the massive cyberattack that hit at least 150 countries around the world.

Experts say it’s still far too early to say whether North Korea was behind the outbreak of ransomware attacks that has affected hundreds of thousands of computers since Friday.

 But the secretive regime has been linked to other major hacking cases in the past.

Here are some of the most high profile examples:

  • Banks around the world

A group with ties to North Korea is thought to be responsible for a series of attacks on financial institutions.

North Korea's Long History of Hacking

North Korea’s Long History of Hacking

The most brazen assault occurred in February 2016, when $101 million was fraudulently transferred out of the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve and moved to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Most of the funds have not been recovered.

Security researchers later established that similar tactics had been used to attack banks in Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam.

But that was only part of the picture: Researchers at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said in April that a hacking group — known as “Lazarus” — also attacked financial institutions in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Uruguay.

The Lazarus hackers carefully routed their signal through France, South Korea and Taiwan to setup their attack server, according to Kaspersky.

But researchers noticed one mistake: A connection that briefly came from North Korea.

  • Sony Pictures

A major attack on Sony Pictures brought the movie studio to its knees in 2014.

North Korea's Long History of Hacking

North Korea’s Long History of Hacking

At the time, Sony (SNE) was about to release “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

hacking stole movie scripts, entire films, internal memos and personal information on movie stars and Sony employees. Then they wiped computers.

Clues pointed to Lazarus, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation went on to conclude that North Korea was behind the breach.

In early 2015, the White House announced a new set of economic sanctions to penalize North Korea over its involvement. The measures targeted senior regime officials.

North Korea has denied it was behind the hacking.

Updated: May 17, 2017 — 9:02 am

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