The United States has accused three North Korean computer programmers of massive cyber attacks. In these attacks on banks in Asia, Mexico and Africa, among others, more than $ 1.3 billion (over a billion euros) in cash and cryptocurrency were reportedly stolen. A Hollywood film studio was also attacked.
The three suspects were also involved in the development of the WannaCry 2.0 ransomware, according to the US Public Prosecution Service. The UK health service of the NHS, among others, was hit hard by this in 2017. With this software, computer systems were shut down and released only after an amount was transferred.
In 2014, hackers attacked Sony Pictures. They wanted to avoid the movie The interview has been freed. In this comedy, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is killed. In addition, the hackers obtained a large number of passwords and email addresses from Sony customers, contracts with actors and copies of passports. A month later, the US Federal Police’s FBI had sufficient evidence that it was an attack from North Korea.
American justice made known the names of the three. Jon Chang Hyok (31), Kim Il (27) and Park Jin Hyok (36) were working for North Korean military intelligence at the time of the attacks. The Americans assume they are still in North Korea, but previously they also operated from China and Russia.
The exact amount is not clear
The exact amount they stole is not known because in some cases the flight was stopped or canceled on time. In at least one attack in 2016, $ 81 million (€ 67 million) was reportedly looted. The National Bank of Bangladesh was a victim.
According to US authorities, an American of Canadian origin declared that he was guilty of laundering part of the pirate proceeds.
In a confidential United Nations report, North Korea has also stolen more than $ 300 million (260 million euros) in cryptocurrency in recent months. The money would go to developing nuclear weapons, concluded the panel which investigated the effectiveness of international sanctions against North Korea. In total, the country is estimated to have stolen around $ 2 billion over the years.
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