North Korea hacking Nigerian banks to fund nuclear programme

Nigeria has been identified as one of the 18 countries where North Korean hackers have been accessing funds to sponsor its nuclear programme.

According to a recent report presented by Kaspersky, a cyber security company, at a cybersecurity conference in the Caribbean, North Korea is behind what could be described as the biggest heist in cyber criminal activities. Kaspersky noted that Nigeria, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Malaysia, Poland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Uruguay are the countries vulnerable to North Korea’s hacking-for-nuclear-funding mission.

“This is all for their nuclear weapons and missile programs. They need this money for building and researching more ballistic missiles,” said Anthony Ruggiero, a senior fellow for Foundation for Defense of Democracies who specialises in North Korea.

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Cyber security experts said that North Korea has narrowed down its heist to financial institutions in the past few years. Kaspersky Lab disclosed that it was able to trace a cyber-hack at the Bangladesh Central Bank to an IP address located in North Korea.

“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 (command and control) server; however, there was one short connection on that day which was coming from a very rare IP address range in North Korea,” Kaspersky said.

“This was another artefact pointing at a possible origin of the Lazarus group or at least some of its members.”

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