North Korea Hackers Steal Data on Laser Anti-Aircraft Weapons
A desperate North Korea has embarked on pilfering defense technology to fund its weapons programmes because of tough sanctions. A joint probe by the South Korean police and the US FBI established found that Andariel, a North Korean hacker group, stole technical data of South Korean defense contractors, pharmaceutical companies, financial firms and educational institutes.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s Security Investigation Support Division said the North Korea-based group hacked South Korea’s domestic companies. “The stolen data amounted to 1.2 terabytes of files, equivalent to around 230 high-definition films. This includes technology on advanced laser anti-aircraft weapons and their development plans.”
This shows that North Korean hackers are becoming bolder. They are targeting sensitive information and data.
South Korea Alarmed Over North Korea Hacking
Shin Beom-cheol, former vice-defense minister, expressed alarm about North Korea hacking. “This means the North’s hacking attacks are evolving remarkably and becoming bolder to target moneymaking technology and sensitive defense technology.” Lee Il-woo, of the Korea Defense Network think tank, said laser anti-aircraft weapons were being developed by the South’s military to cope with North Korean drones.
North Korea is determined to hack into defense industries. Kim Seung-joo, a cybersecurity professor at Korea University, believes the rogue nation is expanding cyberattacks on defense contractors and pharmaceutical companies.
“Biotechnology has emerged as one of the most valuable sectors following the COVID-19 pandemic, with defense technology valued more than ever amid ongoing wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, prompting hackers worldwide to target such industries. This incident highlights the need for local defense companies to further bolster their IT security.”
North Korea Has South Korea-like Weapons
Lee, a missile expert, expressed surprise that North Korea’s new Spike missile used to strike ships or coastline batteries were similar to South Korea’s tactical surface-to-surface missile. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) paraded the weapons in July for its “Victory Day”.
Besides data, North Korean hackers have also been targeting cryptocurrency. An expert said North Korea stole around US$340 million in cryptocurrency over the first three-quarters of 2023. It has been cashing out cryptocurrency through Russian currency exchange services.