North Korean cyberattack looted USD 13.5 million from Indian bank: UN

The Security Council's panel of experts that monitors the sanctions on North Korea said the cyberattack in August last year was carried out "by an advanced persistent threat group" from that country.

Published: 29th March 2019 11:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2019 11:01 AM   |  A+A-

cyber crime, Hackers, Cyber bullying

Image used for representational purpose only

By IANS

UNITED NATIONS: Starved for foreign funds due to UN sanctions, North Korea carried out a USD 13.5 million cyber heist of Cosmos Bank using a network across 28 countries by breaking its internal safety measures, according to the world body.

The Security Council's panel of experts that monitors the sanctions on North Korea said the cyberattack in August last year was carried out "by an advanced persistent threat group" from that country.

"In August 2018, about $13.5 million was withdrawn from Cosmos Bank in India in more than 14,000 simultaneous automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawals in 28 countries, as well as in additional transfers to an account belonging to a Hong Kong-based company," the report said.

The report by the panel of experts headed by Hugh Griffiths was released earlier this month by Council President Francois Delattre.

"The Cosmos attack was a more advanced, well-planned and highly coordinated operation that bypassed three main layers of defence contained in International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) banking/ATM attack mitigation guidance," the report said.

Outlining the North Korean tactic, it said, "Not only were the actors able to compromise the SWIFT network in the Cosmos case to transfer the funds to other accounts, but they simultaneously compromised internal bank processes to bypass transaction verification procedures and order worldwide transfers to almost 30 countries where funds were physically withdrawn by individuals in more than 10,000 separate transactions over a weekend."

SWIFT, which stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transaction code, identifies banks for international financial transactions. The transfers to the Hong Kong-based company's account were made using SWIFT, the report said.

The report quoted a UN member country as saying that North Korea was using cyberspace for undercover operations "to acquire funds through a variety of measures in order to circumvent the sanctions".

The US has charged North Korean hacker Park Jin Hyok, who was a member of the hacking organisation known as the Lazarus Group and is also linked to North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau, according to the UN report. 

He is charged with engaging in "wide-ranging, multi-year conspiracy to conduct computer intrusions and commit wire fraud" on behalf of North Korea. The report said that according to the US, Park "has travelled to China in the past and conducted legitimate IT (information technology) work under the front company 'Chosun Expo' or the Korean Expo Joint Venture".

The report said that Park and his associates were also responsible for "fraudulent transfer of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank," according to the US. Banco de Chile was also targeted and lost USD 10 million, the report said.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp