Cyberwar news: North Korea hard to crack

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North Korean Internet expertise seems to be better than many might think

The South Korean branch of international hacker group Anonymous on June 25, the anniversary of the Korean War,  claimed that it has infiltrated internet networks of the North Korean government and stolen secret military documents and a number of other classified data.

However, the group failed to present the documents and it later turned out that the long-awaited attack, called #OpNorthKorea, broadly failed. The denial-of-service attacks did reach North Korean websites, but in a confusion Anonymous accidentally also hacked its own South Korean website and further on reportedly also the website of the South Korean president and some obscure Chinese web portals, including a government website for Zibo City, a provincial city in Shandong, China.

What the group eventually downloaded were files containing data about the US army division stationed in South Korea as well as names and personal data of South Korean military members and mobile phone numbers and more of members of the ruling South Korean Saenuri party.

Some North Korean sites did go down due to the attacks but were quickly restored, prompting Internet security analysts to comment that North Korea’s highly regulated Intranet that only has a few lines leading outside of the country is too hard to crack even for an advanced hacker group such as Anonymous and “surprisingly robust.”

They said it seems that North Korea’s walled-off intranet is greatly inaccessible from outside and the technical capabilities of North Korean IT specialists were better than expected and their own hacking capabilities very well developed.

“Perhaps the most interesting threat is not to bring down the North Korean intranet but rather to open it up,” says country expert Marcus Noland of the Washington D.C.-based Peterson Institute of International Economics.

North Korea reportedly runs its own cyber warfare programme with 3,000 highly specialised computer network experts and programmers that already successfully attacked South Korean banking networks and shut down TV channels.

#OpNorthKorea began in March 2012 during the Korean Peninsula crisis when individuals claiming to represent Anonymous orchestrated distributed denial of service attacks on many North Korean websites, which brought the sites down for days.

Then, in April, the group announced that it had hacked into a North Korean propaganda website and stole 15,000 secret documents which it threatened to release unless the regime in Pyongyang “stopped making anking nnuclear weapons and threatening to use them, leader Kim Jong-un resigned, a direct democracy was established inside North Korea and North Koreans were given free, uncensored access to the internet.”

However, there has been no confirmation that Anonymous really stole North Korean data in the June 25 attack as they claimed on that day through a YouTube video:

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

North Korean Internet expertise seems to be better than many might think

The South Korean branch of international hacker group Anonymous on June 25, the anniversary of the Korean War,  claimed that it has infiltrated internet networks of the North Korean government and stolen secret military documents and a number of other classified data.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

kim-jong-un computer
North Korean Internet expertise seems to be better than many might think

The South Korean branch of international hacker group Anonymous on June 25, the anniversary of the Korean War,  claimed that it has infiltrated internet networks of the North Korean government and stolen secret military documents and a number of other classified data.

However, the group failed to present the documents and it later turned out that the long-awaited attack, called #OpNorthKorea, broadly failed. The denial-of-service attacks did reach North Korean websites, but in a confusion Anonymous accidentally also hacked its own South Korean website and further on reportedly also the website of the South Korean president and some obscure Chinese web portals, including a government website for Zibo City, a provincial city in Shandong, China.

What the group eventually downloaded were files containing data about the US army division stationed in South Korea as well as names and personal data of South Korean military members and mobile phone numbers and more of members of the ruling South Korean Saenuri party.

Some North Korean sites did go down due to the attacks but were quickly restored, prompting Internet security analysts to comment that North Korea’s highly regulated Intranet that only has a few lines leading outside of the country is too hard to crack even for an advanced hacker group such as Anonymous and “surprisingly robust.”

They said it seems that North Korea’s walled-off intranet is greatly inaccessible from outside and the technical capabilities of North Korean IT specialists were better than expected and their own hacking capabilities very well developed.

“Perhaps the most interesting threat is not to bring down the North Korean intranet but rather to open it up,” says country expert Marcus Noland of the Washington D.C.-based Peterson Institute of International Economics.

North Korea reportedly runs its own cyber warfare programme with 3,000 highly specialised computer network experts and programmers that already successfully attacked South Korean banking networks and shut down TV channels.

#OpNorthKorea began in March 2012 during the Korean Peninsula crisis when individuals claiming to represent Anonymous orchestrated distributed denial of service attacks on many North Korean websites, which brought the sites down for days.

Then, in April, the group announced that it had hacked into a North Korean propaganda website and stole 15,000 secret documents which it threatened to release unless the regime in Pyongyang “stopped making anking nnuclear weapons and threatening to use them, leader Kim Jong-un resigned, a direct democracy was established inside North Korea and North Koreans were given free, uncensored access to the internet.”

However, there has been no confirmation that Anonymous really stole North Korean data in the June 25 attack as they claimed on that day through a YouTube video:

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