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CISA: North Korea's BeagleBoyz Robbing Banks

August 28, 2020

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) are issuing a joint technical alert about an ongoing automated teller machine (ATM) cash-out scheme by North Korean government cyber actors – referred to by the U.S. government as “FASTCash 2.0: North Korea's BeagleBoyz Robbing Banks.”

The joint alert provides important, new details about the resumption of a North Korean cyber-enabled bank robbery scheme targeting banks in multiple countries to initiate fraudulent international money transfers and ATM cash outs. It gives an overview of the group responsible for this activity, in-depth technical analysis and detection and mitigation recommendations to counter this ongoing threat to the financial services sector.

Accompanying this alert are three malware analysis reports that disclose variants used by North Korea to gain unauthorized access to victim networks, ATMs or point of sale systems. USCYBERCOM is uploading the associated malware samples of the reports on its VirusTotal account.

Bryan Ware, Assistant Director of Cybersecurity, CISA, said: “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. CISA and our interagency partners work closely with industry to provide actionable, specific and timely cyber threat information, like today’s alert. Our aim is to disrupt and defeat malicious cyber campaigns and help government and industry partners prioritize resources to highest risk to stay one-step ahead of adversaries.”

Dave Lacquement, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection, Treasury, said: “Treasury’s Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection (OCCIP) continues to aggressively coordinate with our government, international, and private sector partners to reduce the threat to the global financial sector posed by North Korean and other sophisticated cyber actors. This is a team effort that requires increased operational collaboration and information sharing to ensure the security and resilience of the financial sector.”

Matt Gorham, Assistant Director Cyber Division, FBI said: “At the FBI, our mission is to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries through our unique blend of authorities, capabilities, and enduring partnerships. The partnership piece is key. We believe cyber is the ultimate team sport and we have great partners at CISA, Treasury, and U.S. Cyber Command. As we work together across the U.S. Government, we constantly look for opportunities to mitigate our cyber adversaries’ ability to do us harm, just as we are doing today with the release of this advisory.”

Brig. Gen. Joe Hartman, Cyber National Mission Force Commander, said: “We know that North Korea uses cyber enabled tactics and techniques to steal currency, which it would otherwise be denied under international sanctions. The Cyber National Mission Force is laser-focused on the away game- we understand what our adversaries are doing, and we share this information with our partners to take action against them.”

Collectively, the U.S. Government works every day to identify malicious activity, provide actionable mitigations and help organizations and sectors of our economy strengthen their cybersecurity against sophisticated, well-resourced adversaries. Today’s alert adds to a large and still growing list of malicious cyber activity by North Korean state actors and should not be understated. This new information, along with previously reported activity and important mitigation recommendations, can be found here.

Organizations, specifically those in the financial services sector, should give this activity the highest priority for assessing their networks and implementing appropriate mitigation. If any aspect of this North Korean theft scheme is detected, it should be immediately reported to law enforcement, CISA or Treasury. Also, anyone with additional information about this malicious activity is encouraged to report it.

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