Malta, known as an international financial hub in the Mediterranean, is among 17 countries that ended up a victim of the North Korean regime. United Nations experts are investigating at least 35 occasions in 17 countries that suffered from a cyberattack which was carried out by North Koreans to raise money for weapons of mass destruction.
13 countries suffered from one attack; Malta, Costa Rica, Gambia, Guatemala, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia and Vietnam. South Korea suffered most from these attacks, 10 in total. Then there were three attacks in India while Bangladesh and Chile had two attacks.
An expert report which was presented to the United Nations Security Council North Korea Sanctions Committee says that North Korea illegally acquired $2 billion from online activities against financial institutions and the cryptocurrency exchanges.
The Maltese Government did not issue any official statement but it is believed that the attack on Malta concerns Bank of Valletta. Last February, the Bank systems were hacked and €13 million were stolen. Since then, €10 million were recovered. Sources said that a Federal Bureau of Investigation Team is in Malta investigating this attack in collaboration with Maltese experts from the state IT agency; Malta Information Technology Agency.
Experts said that there are three ways of carrying out these cyberattacks. The first way is by using the Society System for Interbank Financial Telecommunication Around the World (SWIFT) to transfer money between banks, using the computers of employees to send fraudulent messages and then delete the evidence. Another option is by theft of cryptocurrency through attacks on exchanges and users, or using the cryptocurrency as a source of funding for professional branch of the military.