South Korean military secrets stolen by North Korean hackers in major cyber-attack

Despite truce talks, North Korean hackers still targeting South Korean firms

News / South Korean military secrets stolen by North Korean hackers in major cyber-attack

South Korean military secrets stolen by North Korean hackers in major cyber-attack

North Korea may have unravelled every possible South Korean military secret after it conducted a massive cyber attack on South Korea's defence ministry.

A cyber-attack by North Korean hackers compromised details about military plans drawn up by US and South Korea and locations of military facilities.

A South Korean lawmaker has confirmed that a cyber-attack on the country's defence ministry by suspected North Korean hackers may have compromised a treasure trove of military secrets as well as contingency plans. The hack took place in September last year but North Korea has denied its involvement.

Rhee Cheol-hee, the South Korean lawmaker who revealed the news, also detailed out the extent of data compromised as a result of the cyber-attack. The stolen data included 235GB of documents from the Defence Integrated Data Centre, confidential reports to senior Allied commanders, as well as battle plans drawn up by the U.S. and South Korea.

Data stolen by hackers also included locations of military facilities and power plants, as well as details of a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

This isn't the first time that North Korea has been accused of stealing military secrets by conducting cyber-attacks. In April 2016, South Korea alleged that hackers backed by North Korea had succeeded in stealing 40,000 defense-related materials that included blueprints for the wing designs of F-15 fighter jets. Suspected hackers had compromised as many as 140,000 computers owned by 160 South Korean businesses to obtain such data.

Earlier this year, U.S. and South Korean authorities also confirmed that North Korean hackers had, via a cyber-attack, stolen details of a highly confidential masterplan named 'OPLAN 5027' which contained details about future invasion of North Korea by U.S. and South Korean armies.

Britain was recently dragged into the much-publicised verbal conflict between North Korea and the United States when dictator Kim Jong-un accused it of being 'mercenaries', a 'vassal' of the United States and joining 'war-mongering' drills.

“The US imperialists and the south Korean war maniacs Monday launched Ulji Freedom Guardian joint military drills aimed at a preemptive attack on the DPRK, according to CBS of South Korea. Even mercenaries from seven vassal countries, including Australia and the UK, have joined them.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula has plunged into a critical phase due to the reckless north-targeted war racket of the war maniacs," said the North Korean Central News Agency.

Earlier this month, Robert Hannigan, who retired in March this year after leading GCHQ for three years, warned that North Korea is now targeting the UK's financial system to recoup necessary finances for its nuclear programme following the imposition of economic sanctions.

"As sanctions bite further and North Korea becomes more desperate for foreign currency, they will get more aggressive and continue to come after the finance sector. They’re after our money,” he told The Times.

He warned that the country is now increasing its cyber-warfare activities and may soon become a "premier league" player in cyber-warfare. It is doing so by collaborating with cyber criminals who may not be based in North Korea but have the tools in place to conduct massive cyber warfare on Britain's banks.

Considering that North Korea has already made the UK a financial target, it won't be far-fetched to believe that the country won't hesitate in launching cyber-attacks of the UK's defence sector to gain more insight into future operations, capabilities as well as the UK's involvement in the existing feud between the United States and North Korea.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has also warned that Britain could find itself caught in the cross-fire between the United States and North Korea. Considering that Britain is a steadfast NATO ally and has backed the United States in denouncing North Korea's nuclear tests, it may invite Kim Jong-un's wrath sooner than later.

“The US is fully entitled to defend its own territory, to defend its bases and to look after its people, but this involves us, London is closer to North Korea and its missiles than Los Angeles," he told the BBC.

Speaking about North Korea's missile strike capabilities, he added that “the range is getting longer and longer and we have to get this programme halted because the dangers now of miscalculation, of some accident triggering a response are extremely great.”

The following two tabs change content below.

Jay Jay

Jay has been a technology reporter for almost a decade. When not writing about cybersecurity, he writes about mobile technology for the likes of Indian Express, TechRadar India and Android Headlines

Comments

Get the latest cyber news in your inbox

Join our community of cyber professionals today!