North Korea has recently been linked to around 18 countries recently, and it's not because they're promoting peace. Apparently, the East Asian country has been associated with Cyber attacks on financial institutions in all of those countries, per a report by CNN. According to a handful of global security experts, the country led by the infamous Kim Jong-Un is more than likely using the money acquired in these "hits" to help fund nuclear weapon development.

Alleged North Korean attacks have affected countries all around the world

Experts at Kasperky, a leading cyber security firm based out of Moscow, Russia, say the hacking operations are being carried out by an organization known only as "Lazarus." Reports claim the "Lazarus" entity (sources don't know for sure whether it's a single person, a group, or something else) is responsible for attacking banks and other institutions in countries that span all the way across the globe- Nigeria is a victim, for instance, as is Costa Rica.

The one thread all of the attacks seem to have in common, however, is their origin. Sources from Kaspersky state North Korea appears to consistently be at the center of it all. According to these same sources, the Lazarus operation routs a signal through countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and France in order to conceal its identity. One connection, however, recently sprouted up from North Korea, before quickly changing.

The Kaspersky team is using this accidental disclosure as evidence that, at the very least, North Korea is "a very important part of this equation."

North Korea has been accused of international cyberattacks before

Reports indicate that in recent years, North Korea has been suspected of masterminding other cyber attacks, including the infamous Sony Pictures leak in the US in 2014. As "Lazarus" became more and more advanced, however, the country set its sights on global finances.

CNN reports that the earliest recorded victim was a bank in Vietnam, while the latest institutions to fall prey to the alleged North Korean attacks have been in places as random as Gabon. Some of the most recent attacks happened just weeks ago, according to a report by Symantec, a California-based company well known for its Norton line of digital security products and quite adept at internet espionage.

The attacks may soon focus on Western nations

Sources that have been researching these attacks for some time now claim the operation intends to eventually go after larger institutions in the Western market.

According to CNN, the United Nations' financial sanctions against North Korea have been a major catalyst for attacks from the largely communist country. The worldwide effort to reprimand North Korea for its budding nuclear program by cutting it off from the financial system means Kim Jong-Un and company will do whatever it takes to access the funds they need for the program- even if it that means possibly committing international crimes.

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