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North Korean hackers getting more ‘brazen’ despite talk of peace on peninsula

(National SentinelCyberwar: Even as North and South Korea talk peace and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un prepares for a summit with President Donald J. Trump, a new report notes that Pyongyang’s state hackers are getting more and more brazen.

As The Hill reported, not only are they getting more ostentatious the army of hackers is also becoming more capable and more willing to launch cyber attacks on international targets.



The site noted further:

Hackers linked to Pyongyang have deployed new tools and escalated operations against financial targets and global organizations. Over the past two years, security professionals have observed a continuous improvement in North Korea’s technical capabilities.

North Korea’s cyber capabilities are still considered inferior to those in other nations, like Russia, China and Israel. But some sayNorth Korea’s evolution on cyber — coupled with the country’s willingness to execute attacks when motivated by geopolitical events — make Pyongyang one of the more threatening adversaries in cyberspace. 

“They have demonstrated that when they have the intention they will deploy the capability,” Adam Meyers, vice president for intelligence at CrowdStrike, told The Hill. “I would say that it is a formidable cyber adversary for us.”

Trump and Kim are expected to, among other subjects and issues, discuss denuclearization. But the U.S. and U.S. corporations like Sony have long been targets of North Korean hackers, so it’s a good bet that cyber will be on the list.

“The North Koreans carry out their attacks to fit a larger political agenda,” noted Jim Lewis, a former State Department official and cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“If the talks don’t go very well, then I think we will see a resurgence of North Korean activity,” he told The Hill.

The most recent evidence of Pyongyang’s expanded cyber activity came in late April when researchers at cybersecurity firm McAfee revealed that a hacking campaign they had been tracking further widened to include critical infrastructure, financial and telecommunications targets in 17 countries.

McAfee dubbed the hacking campaign “Operation GhostSecret,” and it was initially focused on Turkey’s financial sector.

However, after cybersecurity researchers discovered the attack in March, the North Korean hackers ramped up their activities and widened their targets to include the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the United States.


“The threat actors appeared to carry on with impunity,” said Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee. “They just escalated.”

The Hill noted further:

The campaign has the hallmarks of the cyber espionage group known as “Hidden Cobra,” a term the U.S. government has used to describe North Korean state-sponsored hackers.

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