• Monday, Aug 03, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:29 pm

US puts sanctions on N Korea hacking groups behind BB heist

  • Published at 09:42 am September 14th, 2019
File photo: Reuters

Bluenoroff's biggest success, together with Lazarus, was the $80 million heist from Bangladesh's central bank

The US Treasury on Friday placed sanctions on three North Korea government-sponsored hacking operations which it said were behind the theft of possibly hundreds of millions of dollars and destructive cyber-attacks on infrastructure.

The Treasury said the three groups -- dubbed Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff and Andariel -- were behind major thefts from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as the 2018 WannaCry hack that crippled Britain's National Health Service.

All three are tied to the Reconnaissance General Bureau, Pyongyang's main intelligence bureau, and are behind numerous malicious computer viruses as well as attempts to steal billions of dollars online to fund the North Korean government, the Treasury said.

"Treasury is taking action against North Korean hacking groups that have been perpetrating cyber attacks to support illicit weapon and missile programs," said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker.

"We will continue to enforce existing US and UN sanctions against North Korea and work with the international community to improve cybersecurity of financial networks," she said in a statement.

Created in 2007, Lazarus group has been known for years. It was behind the malicious hack of Sony Pictures in 2014, as well as the WannaCry ransomware that spread to at least 150 countries in 2017.

The heaviest hit was Britain's public health system, with hospitals virtually shut down and thousands of patients turned away, costing the government ultimately more than $112 million.

Bluenoroff was formed specifically to obtain revenue for the North Korean government, the Treasury said.

By hijacking the global banking transfer system SWIFT, by 2018 it had made attempts online to steal more than $1.1 billion from financial institutions.

Its biggest success, together with Lazarus, was the $80 million heist from Bangladesh's central bank.

Andariel specializes in targeting businesses, government agencies and individuals. It has been known to steal bank card information and hack into ATMs, and to steal bank customer information to sell on the black market.

The Treasury said Andariel created unique malware to hack online gambling and poker sites.

The Treasury also cited online accounts to say the three groups "likely" stole $571 million in cryptocurrency from five Asian exchanges in 2017 and 2018.

The sanctions aim to lock anyone involved with the groups out of the global financial system and empower the US government to freeze any assets held under US jurisdiction.

In September 2018, the FBI charged North Korean Park Jin Hyok, allegedly a member of the Lazarus group, with conspiracy for multiple cyberattacks including the Sony Pictures attacks and the theft from the Central Bank of Bangladesh.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail