A warning from the US government on Wednesday claims that North Korean hackers are tapping into banks around the world to make fraudulent money transfers and cause ATMs to spit out cash.
A technical cybersecurity alert commissioned by four federal agencies, including the Treasury Department and the FBI, wrote that the North Korean government has initiated new hacking efforts recently following decreased activity.
“Since February 2020, North Korea has resumed targeting banks in multiple countries to initiate fraudulent international money transfers and ATM cash outs”, the warning states.
US authorities, who have dubbed the hacking campaign 'Fast Cash', and have blamed North Korea’s clandestine 'Reconnaissance General Bureau' intelligence agency for the reported campaign.
The Fed claims that the operation has been ongoing since 2016, but has recently become more widespread and sophisticated.
“North Korean cyber actors have demonstrated an imaginative knack for adjusting their tactics to exploit the financial sector as well as any other sector through illicit cyber operations", said Bryan Ware, a senior cybersecurity official at the US Homeland Security Department, in a prepared statement.
Vikram Thakur, a technical director for US cybersecurity firm Symantec, said that the alleged attacks are proof of the reliance the regime has on outside funds, as well as serving "testament to their technical ability and determination".
Cybersecurity experts and foreign policy analysts in the US claim that the North Korean government carries out these operations due to its inability to access funds after increasingly harsh sanctions from the US and other Western countries.