North Korea Pulled the Digital Trigger

dprk propagandaWhile we’ve been worried about missile launches and “satellite” attempts, North Korea’s real action has been closer to Earth. The DPRK regime is accused of initiating high-profile cyber-attacks, causing internet outages in the United States and South Korea. The IP address, better than a fingerprint in this case, points back to North Korea’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, according to the chief of South Korea’s top spy agency. China leases the IP address to the DPRK military, according to JoongAng Ilbo and Yonhap news agency, both media outlets in South Korea.

North Korea has been suspected since the beginning in the attacks, which nearly brought down the websites for the U.S. White House and South Korea’s Blue House (equivalent to the White House). At the time, media outlets in South Korea put out the word that the DPRK operates a unit dedicated to internet-based warfare, with between 500 and 1,000 hackers. Obviously, substantiating this is a nightmare.

Even without a hefty number of bodies or a big budget, these attacks are easy to initiate, making the alleged internet warfare unit incredibly cost effective for the DPRK. According to Rod Beckstrom, former head of the National Cybersecurity Center in the United States, “It’s definitely credible that anyone who had $50 million or a quarter-million dollars or a fairly limited amount of funding could hire hackers to go and perpetrate such an attack.”

[Via MSNBC, photo by ninjawil via Flickr]

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