North Korea may have confirmed the worst fears of cryptocurrency regulators by hacking crypto exchanges and financial institutions in at least 17 countries to fund its nuclear program.
United Nations (UN) experts have compiled a detailed report, according to a story in the South China Morning Post, outlining their investigations into 35 state-sanctioned cyber attacks in 17 countries, that netted North Korea as much as $2 billion, cryptoglobe report.
It added that the hackers used "low risk, high yield" methods, often only needing a laptop computer to carry out their attacks. It detailed three ways in which the hackers were able to operate.
The more detailed report, published on Tuesday, reveals that South Korea was the hardest hit of the victim countries with 10 attacks, followed by India with three.
Bangladesh and Chile each suffered two attacks, while 13 other countries were victims of one attack each: Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam.
Among the details on the institutions hit by the attacks, South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb was one of the worst hit, being attacked at least four times: two attacks in February 2017 and July 2017 each saw losses of about $7 million; in June 2018 the exchange lost $31 million and an attack in March 2019 led to a $20 million loss.