- Banks and security researchers have previously identified four similar cyber-heists attempted on financial institutions in Bangladesh, Ecuador, the Philippines and Vietnam
- The hacking operation is known as “Lazarus”
- It also attacked financial institutions in Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Uruguay
North Korea is now being linked to attacks on banks in Nigeria and other 17 countries.
This is according to a new report from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
According to the security firm, the hackers are backed by North Korea and the criminal proceeds of the hacking are likely to be used in funding the pariah country’s 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,” it 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.”
The report read further that: “Even though attackers were careful enough to wipe their traces, at least one server they breached for another campaign contained a serious mistake with an important artefact being left behind.
"In preparation for operation, the server was configured as the command & control center for the malware.
"The first connections made on the day of configuration were coming from a few VPN/proxy servers indicating a testing period for the C&C server; however, there was one short connection on that day which was coming from a very rare IP address range in North Korea.
"This was another artefact pointing at a possible origin of the Lazarus group or at least some of its members. Although, this is not enough proof to provide definitive attribution given that the connection session could have been a false flag operation.”
“We’re sure they’ll come back soon. In all, attacks like the ones conducted by Lazarus group show that a minor misconfiguration may result in a major security breach, which can potentially cost a targeted business hundreds of millions of dollars in loss,” Vitaly Kamluk, head of the Global Research and Analysis Team APAC at Kaspersky Lab says.
“We hope that chief executives from banks, casinos and investment companies around the world will become wary of the name Lazarus.”
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