North Korean hackers target nuclear research centre

The attack on a South Korean government-funded research institute has been described as “a massive security breach”

A North Korean hacking group has successfully hacked one of South Korea’s largest state-run think tanks, responsible for researching nuclear technology, it has emerged.

The breach, which happened on 14 May, affected the government-funded Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), according to South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae-keung, as reported by Yonhap.

Ha, a representative from the People Power party, South Korea's main opposition party, stated that KAERI initially tried to cover up the breach by denying the attack took place, only for it to later admit that its network was breached. The think tank is reportedly still investigating the nature of the attack and whether any data was stolen.

The lawmaker cited analysis by cyber security firm IssueMakersLab, which found that the attack involved 13 IP addresses, some of which were traced to Kimsuky, a unit with North Korea’s military intelligence agency.

"If the country's nuclear power and other key technologies have been leaked, it could become a massive security breach following Pyongyang's hacking of Seoul military cyber command in 2016," said Ha.

Ha added that some of the IP addresses that breached the KAERI network used the email address of Moon Chung-in, a former advisor to President Moon Jae-in. The email account was reportedly hacked in 2018, but it wasn’t until 2020 that a local cyber security firm found that Kimsuky was behind this attack as well.

Related Resource

Security awareness training strategies for account takeover protection

Why you need an inside-the-perimeter strategy for internal threats

Security awareness training strategies for account takeover protection - whitepaper from MimecastDownload now

In November last year, pharmaceutical companies researching treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 were actively being targeted by prominent state-backed hackers from North Korea and Russia. Microsoft stated that these groups were launching “unconscionable” cyber attacks against the companies.

The number of cyber attacks from North Korean sources is expected to increase this year, according to a report published in February. It detailed that the closure of North Korea’s border with China, along with severe typhoons and floods, to be key factors in the potential increase of cyber crime.

Featured Resources

B2B under quarantine

Key B2C e-commerce features B2B need to adopt to survive

Download now

The top three IT pains of the new reality and how to solve them

Driving more resiliency with unified operations and service management

Download now

The five essentials from your endpoint security partner

Empower your MSP business to operate efficiently

Download now

How fashion retailers are redesigning their digital future

Fashion retail guide

Download now

Recommended

Tesla Megapack goes up in flames at Australian battery site
Hardware

Tesla Megapack goes up in flames at Australian battery site

30 Jul 2021
Microsoft mulls investment in Indian hotel startup Oyo
Cloud

Microsoft mulls investment in Indian hotel startup Oyo

30 Jul 2021
The IT Pro Podcast: Bringing cricket into the digital age
Data & insights

The IT Pro Podcast: Bringing cricket into the digital age

30 Jul 2021
Podcast transcript: Bringing cricket into the digital age
Data & insights

Podcast transcript: Bringing cricket into the digital age

30 Jul 2021

Most Popular

The benefits of workload optimisation
Sponsored

The benefits of workload optimisation

16 Jul 2021
RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility
high-performance computing (HPC)

RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility

28 Jul 2021
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review: A rose-tinted experience
Mobile Phones

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review: A rose-tinted experience

14 Jul 2021