N Korea's hacking capability is of the world's best standards: defector
By Lim Yun Suk, South Korea Bureau Chief, Channel NewsAsia
POSTED: 02 Dec 2014 19:35
"What can really destroy South Korea is not from a direct artillery attack, but from the hacking of South Korea's nuclear plants," said Kang Myong Do, the son-in-law of a former North Korean prime minister.
SEOUL: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has issued an urgent warning to businesses in America, saying unknown hackers have launched a cyber attack with "destructive malware" that can wipe out data and shut down networks.
The warning comes a week after hackers crippled Sony Pictures' computer system. Reports say the attack is North Korea's retaliation against the soon-to-be-released Sony Pictures movie The Interview. But the usually secretive state has refused to deny involvement, and has suggested a "wait and see" approach.
The Interview is a comedy about two journalists who have been hired by the CIA to assassinate North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. The movie is due for release later this month, but Pyongyang is not laughing.
It has already complained to the United Nations, calling the film an "act of war", and now fingers have been pointed at North Korea's possible involvement in last week's massive cyber attack on Sony Pictures.
Security experts said North Korea has the know-how to conduct such an attack. Kang Myong Do, the son-in-law of a former North Korean prime minister, agreed.
Kang, a high-level North Korean defector, said: "Even the United States is closely monitoring North Korea's hacking capabilities, because if it wanted to, it can. I think it's correct to say that North Korea's hacking capability is of the world's best standards."
According to the South Korean government, North Korea is running an elite cyber war unit which is training thousands of its brightest recruits. The numbers range from 3,000 to almost double that figure.
If war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, an attack of cyber proportions is what South Korea should be most worried about, said experts.
Kang said: "What can really destroy South Korea is not from a direct artillery attack, but from the hacking of South Korea's nuclear plants. North Korea can base servers in various countries in Southeast Asia and hack into South Korea's computer systems and nuclear plants."
South Korea has already been a victim of malicious hack attacks. An operation in early 2013, known as "Dark Seoul", crippled the computer systems of broadcasters and banks in the capital. The South Korean government had blamed the incident on Pyongyang.
Seoul said it plans to engage its Defence Ministry to counter security threats in cyberspace. Said Wee Yong Sub, deputy spokesman for South Korean Defence Ministry: "In efforts to be more proactive in dealing with the recent cyber threats, the government is pushing to revise the Military Cyber Command Decree that would enable the JCS chief to coordinate and control the cyber warfare command."
Reports say the frequency of hacking attempts in South Korea during the first nine months of this year has more than doubled from 12 months ago. Many experts warn that South Korea should take the potential of a large-scale cyber attack on its soil more seriously before it is too late.
Source : Channel News Asia
Relayé par H.G