According to a South Korean expert who tracks the activities of South and North Korea, Inter-Korea relations may have warmed in recent months after the friendly overtures of Pyongyang, but the attacks from the government’s cyber-army have shown no signs of failing.
My Choi Sang Myung who is a director of software firm Hauri Inc as well as an advisor to the National Intelligence Service and the police claims that, North Korea has groomed its team of elite hackers by sending them to foreign countries such as India and China, to help them learn and study from experts, and also allowing them to subscribe to South Korean’s technology lectures online.
He said, “Given the reconciliatory mood between the two Koreas, the North no longer attacks the South by sea, air or land. But their attacks have continued in cyberspace, and they continue to collect data, which makes me a little skeptical about their friendly gestures.”
He added saying, “Even if attacks on the South do ease, the number of North Korean hackers will remain unchanged, and they will probably look for other targets, like South-east Asia and Japan.”
When speaking at a Straits Time discussion on Thursday regarding cybersecurity, Mr. Choi claimed that North Korea has managed to increase its cyber-activities regardless of the stronger sanctions from United Nations.
The government which started launching DDoS attacks on the South since the 2000’s is widely held responsible for the WannaCry ransomware attack last year.
North Korean cyber-criminals also stole 26 billion won (over $24 million USD) worth of money last year, from attacks on two cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. This attack was followed by another attack of 58 billion yen (over $500 million USD) in a cyber-currency of Japan.
North Koreas cyber-threat is incredibly strong now, and even global tech companies such as Adobe and Microsoft feel threatened, according to Mr. Choi.
He added, “People think of North Korea as backward in terms of internet penetration, but they are sending scientists overseas to study and providing students with internet access so they can learn about cyber hacking.”
He also warned that another WannaCry attack might emerge anytime, saying, “We don’t know how and when they will do it, so we better find and develop patches to protect ourselves against those attacks.”
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