Skip to comments.North Korean military hackers unleash "cyber-terror" on South Korean computers
Posted on 05/27/2004 2:41:57 PM PDT by LonghornFreeper
SEOUL, (AFP) - South Korea's top military intelligence chief says North Korea is operating an elite military unit specializing in hacking into South Korean computer networks.
Song Young-Keun, commanding general of the counter-intelligence Defense Security Command, said at a conference here that North Korea was building up its "cyber-terror" capability on orders from its leader, Kim Jong-Il.
"Following orders from Chairman Kim Jong-Il, North Korea has been operating a crack unit specializing in computer hacking and strengthening its cyber-terror ability," he said in a keynote speech.
The conference was organized by the Korea Information Security Agency affiliated with the information and communications ministry to discuss the protection of security related intelligence.
He said the North Korean military hackers were breaking into the computer networks of South Korean government agencies and research institutes to steal classified information.
Song's comments came a day after military generals from North Korea and South Korea met to reduce tensions on the world's last Cold War frontier.
North Korea's military "hacking unit" is part of the communist state's decade-old drive to boost its electronics warfare capability, according to military analysts in Seoul.
"Much of it is still remains unknown, though Pyongyang began preparing for electronics warfare as early as the first nuclear crisis in 1994," said Nam Joo-Hong, a military strategist at Kyonggi University in Seoul.
North Korea was then locked in a standoff over its plutonium-based nuclear programs with the United States.
The previous nuclear crisis ended with a US-North Korean compromise that produced an agreement to freeze the north nuclear facilities in 1994. That agreement unravelled in 2002 with Washington accusing Pyongyang of embarking on a new nuclear program based on enriched uranium.
Yonhap news agency quoted DSC officials as saying that top graduates from Kim Il-Sung Military Academy, a military intelligence college, are handpicked and given intensive training in computer-related skills before being assigned to the hackers' unit.
Their tasks are to get into the computer networks run by South Korean government agencies and research institutes and to attack computer systems when necessary, according to Defense Security Command officers.
Song said there were eight Internet websites directly run by Pyongyang and 26 other sites operated by pro-Pyongyang organizations which are acting as propaganda outlets for the communist state.
"Combined efforts are necessary to cope with the mounting cyber attacks from North Korea as it is impossible for the DSC alone to cope with them," the general said.
Lee Hong-Sub, head of the Korea Information Security Agency, also said at the same conference that fighting "cyber threats without borders" requires joint efforts by the government and the private sector.
Defectors from North Korea said computer technology is a top priority in North Korea, with Kim Jong-Nam, the eldest son of the country's ruler, leading the campaign to arm its military with state of the art information technology.
Some 100 hackers graduate from the military academy every year, they said.
They've got the fastest TRS-80's on the planet, and they play PONG reaaaaaal mean, I bet...
I wonder how many people specializing in hackng and detecting those who do graduate from our military schools. We really need a large number of trained professionals to combat this growing threat.
When I used to work for IBM I worked with a couple guys who were ex-military "red team" hackers. Pretty sharp guys. They're out there!
This is priceless. I bet they have aol dial-up accounts. What are they going to dos-attack them with their cluster of 9.6k modems ;)
All we would have to do is shut down the phone service coming out of the country because I would doubt there is fiber OC-lines running through it.
NK cyber terror is a .5 kil EMP bomb detonated over its southern neighbor.
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