Recent reports suggest that Malta has been listed as one of the many victims of North Korean hacking attempts. This is revealed via a leaked security council report by the United Nations. This report was seen by Reuters and it is highlighted that it was compiled by independent experts. It is suggested that North Korea had used wide-reaching and sophisticated attacks to acquire around two billion dollars.
Experts within the United States are investigating the hacks which may be around thirty-five in total, attacking seventeen countries, including Malta. This is revealed via a lengthier version of the report. This report is not clear in the sense that it does not indicate which entities were targeted however some sources claim that these hacks were behind the Bank of Valletta cyberattack earlier on in the year. It is reported by local news that the hack into the bank’s systems was the result of work conducted by those in a blacklisted state.
So are we alone in these attacks? Definitely not! The United Nations indicates that South Korea fared the worst, suffering ten of these attacks. Its cryptocurrency exchange is said to have been hacked four times at least. Another country which fared badly is India with three cyberattacks, followed by Bangladesh and Chile, each suffering two. Another thirteen countries which include Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam suffered one.
A review of the major cyberattack case in Malta impacting Bank of Valletta in 2019, indicates that hackers had been attempting to infiltrate at least from four months before. The bank went totally offline for a couple of hours as hackers stole thirteen million.
It is believed that hackers had broken into the Autorité des Marchés Financiers which regulates the stock exchange in France. This was then followed by the distribution of cleverly crafted emails which when clicked on would grant access to the bank’s systems. This practically indicates how easy it is for someone to fall prey of such a malicious attempt.
Most companies today understand the importance of protecting their assets, data and finances from such attempts and a lot of emphasis is made on IT security.