N’Korea Hacking Nigerian Banks, 17 Others – Report

Kaspersky LabKaspersky says hackers attacked financial institutions in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Uruguay
  • N’Korea Hacking Nigerian Banks, 17 Others – Report

North Korea’s hacking operations have expanded to more countries, including Nigeria, a report by a Russian cyber security firm, Kaspersky, has claimed.

The cyber security firm said hackers backed by North Korea were targeting financial institutions in 18 countries, including Nigeria.

According to a report on the hacking claims by the CNN, two international security experts believe North Korea is likely spending the stolen funds on its nuclear weapons programme.

“Banks and security researchers have previously identified four similar cyber-heists attempted on financial institutions in Bangladesh, Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam,” the report read in part.

“But researchers at Kaspersky now say the same hacking operation, known as ‘Lazarus’, also attacked financial institutions in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand and Uruguay.”

Hackers were traced to North Korea after Kaspersky detected a mistake, and a hacker from a group operation known as Lazarus connected from North Korea, the United Press International also reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the hackers had previously routed their attacks from computer services in France, South Korea and Taiwan, a move which made it difficult for security experts to identify the origin of the breaches.

It added that Lazarus began to focus on banks in late 2015, just before North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test then began to test-launch dozens of ballistic missiles in 2016.

North Korea’s targets have been shifting in recent years.

In 2013, when South Korea’s banks and broadcasters were attacked, the government blamed its neighbour to the north. In 2014, the US government blamed North Korea for the hack on Sony Pictures. Clues in both cases pointed to Lazarus.

By late 2015, the Lazarus hackers shifted their attention to the global financial system, according to researchers at BAE Systems, FireEye and Symantec.

The earliest known victim was a Vietnamese commercial bank. The latest attacks, observed by Kaspersky in March, included operations attacking financial institutions in Gabon and Nigeria in Africa.

Though most of the attacks were not successful in stealing money, several were, according to Symantec.

And researchers said these hackers intend to attack major Western banks using increasingly sophisticated methods.

The Acting Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, could not immediately respond to enquiry on the development.

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
Samed Olukoya is the CEO/Founder of investorsking.com, a digital business media, with over 10 years' experience as a foreign exchange research analyst and trader. A graduate of University of East London, U.K. and a vivid financial markets analyst.

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