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North Korea, the relentless Cyber Bullies

Joshua Zaleski, News Reporter

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According to Intelligence officials and private security experts, the suspects in the recent desolate attacks that have crippled computer systems around the world are pointing to the North Koreans.

The indicators at which point North Korea for these attacks are far from conclusive. The researchers have warned, that not only would it take weeks, if not months, before investigators are confident enough to officially point the finger at Pyongyang’s bold and determined digital hackers.

The attackers, if not the Korean’s, have based their attacks off vulnerabilities that were stolen from the National Security Agency and published last month.

Experts at Symantec found early versions of ransomware, called Wanna Cry, that used tools that were earlier deployed against Sony Pictures Entertainment, the Bangladesh central bank, and the Polish banks.

The computer code in the ransomware, Wanna Cry, bore some striking similarities to the code in those three attacks. Attacks that have not been widely used, but only seen by attacks from the North Korean-linked hackers.

These clues alone are not definitive; moreover, it is known that hackers often borrow and reprogram one another’s code, and government agencies are also known to plant false flags in their code to throw off forensic investigators.

“At this time, all we have is a temporal link. We want to to see more coding similarities to give us more confidence,” said Eric Chen, an investigator at Symantec.

Everyday, the U.S. and its allies are constantly under attack. Everyday, Pyongyang unleashes volley after volley of cyber warfare aimed at extorting and undermining individuals, businesses and governments around the world.

The ongoing investigation, not only that at Symantec, but that of the Russian interference with the U.S. presidential election, and the shocking firing of the FBI Director James Comey, spotlights how cybercrime itself threatens to undermine the very fabric of our democracy.

“In the 20th century, war is with bullets over oil, but in the 21st century, war will be waged as information warfare,” said the bold, and portentous dictator Kim Jong Il Sung, Kim Jong Un’s father in 1995.

 

 

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North Korea, the relentless Cyber Bullies