N.Korea hack­ers stole S.Korea-US mil­i­tary plans

The Myanmar Times - - World -

NORTH Korean hack­ers stole a large amount of clas­si­fied mil­i­tary doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing South Korea-US wartime op­er­a­tional plans to wipe out the North Korean lead­er­ship, a South Korean rul­ing party law­maker said on Wed­nes­day. Demo­cratic Party rep­re­sen­ta­tive Rhee Cheol-hee said in ra­dio ap­pear­ances on Wed­nes­day that 235 gi­ga­bytes of mil­i­tary doc­u­ments were taken from the De­fence In­te­grated Data Cen­tre in Septem­ber last year, cit­ing in­for­ma­tion from uniden­ti­fied South Korean de­fence of­fi­cials.

An in­ves­tiga­tive team in­side the de­fence min­istry an­nounced in May the hack had been car­ried out by North Korea, but did not dis­close what kind of in­for­ma­tion had been taken.

Py­ongyang has de­nied re­spon­si­bil­ity in its state me­dia for the cy­ber at­tacks, crit­i­cis­ing Seoul for “fab­ri­cat­ing” claims about on­line at­tacks.

Sep­a­rately on Wed­nes­day, cy­ber se­cu­rity firm FireEye said in a state­ment North Korea-af­fil­i­ated agents were de­tected at­tempt­ing to phish US elec­tric com­pa­nies via emails sent in mid-Septem­ber, al­though these at­tempts did not lead to a dis­rup­tion in the power sup­ply.

It did not spec­ify when the at­tempts had been de­tected or clar­ify which com­pa­nies had been af­fected.

SIM­PLE MIS­TAKE Rhee, cur­rently a mem­ber of the Na­tional Assem­bly’s com­mit­tee for na­tional de­fence, said about 80 per­cent of the hacked data had not yet been iden­ti­fied, but that none of the in­for­ma­tion was ex­pected to have com­pro­mised the South Korean mil­i­tary be­cause it was not top clas­si­fied in­tel­li­gence.

Some of the hacked data ad­dressed how to iden­tify move­ments of mem­bers of the North Korean lead­er­ship, how to seal off their hid­ing lo­ca­tions, and at­tack from the air be­fore elim­i­nat­ing them, the law­maker had said.

Rhee said on Wed­nes­day the hack had been made pos­si­ble by “a sim­ple mis­take” after a con­nec­tor jack link­ing the mil­i­tary’s in­tranet to the in­ter­net had not been elim­i­nated after main­te­nance work had been done on the sys­tem.

The South Korean De­fence Min­istry’s of­fi­cial stance is that they can­not con­firm any­thing the law­maker said about the hacked con­tent due to the sen­si­tiv­ity of the mat­ter.

FireEye said the phish­ing at­tack on the elec­tric com­pa­nies de­tected was “early-stage re­con­nais­sance” and did not in­di­cate North Korea was about to stage an “im­mi­nent, dis­rup­tive” cy­ber at­tack. The North has been sus­pected of car­ry­ing out sim­i­lar cy­ber at­tacks on South Korean elec­tric util­i­ties, in ad­di­tion to other govern­ment and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Those at­tempts were likely aimed at cre­at­ing a means of “de­ter­ring po­ten­tial war or sow­ing dis­or­der dur­ing a time of armed con­flict”, FireEye said.

“North Korea linked hack­ers are among the most pro­lific na­tion-state threats, tar­get­ing not only the US and South Korea but the global fi­nan­cial sys­tem and na­tions world­wide,” its state­ment said.

“Their mo­ti­va­tions vary from eco­nomic en­rich­ment to tra­di­tional es­pi­onage to sab­o­tage, but all share the hall­mark of an as­cen­dant cy­ber power will­ing to vi­o­late in­ter­na­tional norms with lit­tle re­gard for po­ten­tial blow­back,” it said. – Reuters

Photo: AP

In this Septem­ber 17 file photo, a US Air Force B-1B bomber drops a bomb as it flies over the Korean Penin­sula dur­ing joint drills, South Korea.

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