North Korea, hack

North Korean hackers have been implicated as the source of several high profile attacks recently. Source: Shutterstock

North Korean ‘Lazarus’ group behind recent cyberattacks, says security firm

LAZARUS, the North Korean hacking group, is likely behind a recent cyber heist in Taiwan targeting the country’s Far Eastern International Bank, with further attacks anticipated, said cybersecurity firm BAE Systems Plc.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported last week that while hackers sought to steal some US$60 million from the bank, only US$500,000 had yet to be recovered by the bank.

The attack – the latest in a string of hacks targeting the global SWIFT messaging system – shows North Korea continuing to try and generate funds through hacking.

British BAE Systems Plc previously linked Lazarus to last year’s US$81 million cyber heist at Bangladesh’s central bank, as have other cyber firms, including Russia’s Kaspersky Lab and California-based Symantec Corp.

The company also previously claimed Lazarus had attempted to steal money from banks in Mexico and Poland, though there is no evidence the effort succeeded.

Swift code bank logo is displayed on an iPhone 6s among Euro banknotes. Source: Reuters

BAE cyber-intelligence chief Adrian Nish told Reuters that he expects the group to launch more attacks.

“They are not just going to go away. They’ve built the tools. They are going to keep going back,” he said.

Nish notes, however, that the group appears to have had trouble actually pulling funds from the banking system because security controls were boosted after the massive Bangladesh heist.

Last yearcyber heist on the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve resulted in US$81 million being transferred to bank accounts in the Philippines, where the money was quickly withdrawn and later disappeared in the huge casino industry in the country.

A security executive with SWIFT, a Belgium-based co-operative owned by banks, last week told Reuters that hackers have continued to target the message system this year, though many attempts have been thwarted by the new security controls.

SWIFT has yet to comment on BAE’s findings.