Over 3,000 cyber experts have been recruited by North Korea, in the country’s attempt to harm the West. According to the statements of a former president of North Korea, Kim Heung-Kwang, there is great interest on behalf of the Korean security gladiators (the cyber warriors) towards penetrating the systems of Western Governments and harming their infrastructure to the bone. Kim Heung-Kwang is also the founder of the organization called “North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity”, which aims to raise awareness and inform people of the malicious intent of North Korea. However, the interests of Heung-Kwang’s home country are not limited to governmental sources; instead, they also include sources from the private sector and they can harm the Internet to a huge extent.
Targeting nuclear power businesses and transportation, as well as organizations handling public utilities, the hacking results of North Korea can lead to grave negative consequences in the near future. Given the fact that the cyber warriors in this country are sophisticated and particularly devoted to what they do, the concern becomes even bigger and more direct. According to what the professor who had been working in North Korea’s Hamhung University of Computer Technology had told Reuters in December:
“North Korea’s ultimate goal in cyber strategy is to be able to attack national infrastructure of South Korea and the United States”.
Another thing that is worth highlighting about the interview given by Kim Heung-Kwang is the striking resemblance of the tactics used by the North Koreans and the recent attacks to Sony:
“The hacking of Sony Pictures is similar to previous attacks that were blamed on North Korea and is a result of training and efforts made with the goal of destroying infrastructure.”
The shocking story of Kim Heung-Kwang includes his arrest for holding illegal films and his transfer to labor camps. He managed to escape from the camps, after giving money to a guard of the borders and after having spent about a year under horrible conditions. He later swam across Tumen River and reached China, before settling to South Korea and residing there till now.
“They have trained themselves by launching attacks related to electronic networks”, Jang Se-yul commented on the skills and sophistication of North Korea. Jang Se-yul is another expert in computer science having studied at the military college before leaving North Korea and escaping to the South. “The ultimate target that they have been aiming at for long is infrastructure”, he reveals as to the ultimate goal of these cyber attacks.
The NSA has found evidence about the correlation of the North Koreans with the recent attacks launched against Sony, as well as other similar attacks. Based on the testaments of people who have worked in this field and have learned everything within North Korea, most of the attacks are launched within China by the notorious “Bureau 121”, which is the group of hackers working under the direction of the General Bureau of Reconnaissance.
Ali Qamar is an Internet security research enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. He is the founder and chief editor at “Security Gladiators“, an ultimate source for cyber security. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57
(Security Affairs – North Korea, cyber warfare)