The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that North Korean state-sponsored hacking groups attacked critical infrastructure, drawing illicit funds that ultimately funded the country's weapons and missile programs.
The groups launched ransomware campaigns among other types of attacks, according to Treasury's announcement. The link directly to North Korea's missile program creates further ethical hurdles for companies, insurers and municipalities that must decide whether or not to pay ransoms to criminal groups that have locked up their files.
Treasury says three hacking groups are "responsible for North Korea's malicious cyber activity on critical infrastructure," the Treasury said in a news release.
"Treasury is taking action against North Korean hacking groups that have been perpetrating cyber attacks to support illicit weapon and missile programs," said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in the release.
"We will continue to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against North Korea and work with the international community to improve cybersecurity of financial networks," Mandelker said.
The three hacking groups — known as "Lazarus Group," "Bluenoroff," and "Andariel" — are controlled by North Korea through their relationship to a United Nations-designated intelligence bureau, the Treasury said.
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