North Korea triples its cyber power… South Korea also aims to destroy key industries

North Korean students at the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School during computer training. /Photo = Captured from the Korean Central News

There are claims that the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, a major national security facility, was attacked by the North Korean hacking organization Kimsuky in May. In addition, other national research institutes, such as the Nuclear Fusion Research Institute, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), and the Aerospace Research Institute, are also presumed to have been attacked by North Korean hackers.

As such, it has been pointed out that attacks by North Korean hackers are continuing not only in the government or public sector but also in the private sector. It is said that Kim Suki has been working for several years by impersonating government agencies such as the Ministry of Unification and the Korea Institute for National Unification or large domestic portal sites to target reporters, North Korean organizations, defectors, and foreign and security experts.

In addition, North Korean hackers hacked domestic and foreign pharmaceutical companies to secure technology to develop vaccines and treatments for the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) and attacked cryptocurrency exchanges to steal virtual currency.

These attacks by North Korean hackers are not limited to Korea, but are taking place all over the world. In this regard, US State Department spokeswoman Ned Price said on the 8th (local time) that North Korea’s hacking is a serious cyber threat and requires cooperation from the international community.

According to a Daily NK source on the 9th, the technical and reconnaissance bureau of the General Bureau of Reconnaissance is the organization that leads North Korea’s ceaseless cyber attacks behind the scenes. The technical reconnaissance bureau, which consists of four departments and a unit directly under its control, is said to be externally referred to as the ‘three stations’.

A source said, “The Technical Reconnaissance Bureau has a Machine Equipment Research Department (Part 1), a Computer Program (Computer Program) Infiltration Intelligence Department (Part 2), an Electronic Communication Technology Department (Part 3), and an Interception Reconnaissance Department (Part 4). There are Units 121, Unit 180, Unit 91, etc.

Part 1 seems to be in charge of equipment research, Part 2 is system hacking, Part 3 is network hacking, and Part 4 is communication interception.

System hacking is an attack that takes advantage of computer hardware or software vulnerabilities to steal data or privileges. Network hacking includes hacking computers or equipment connected to networks such as the Internet to steal privileges or information, and DDoS attacks that prevent servers from operating normally.

In addition, the 110 Research Institute visited by Chairman Kim Jong-un in 2012 is a research institute under the 2nd Division of the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau, the source said.

A source said, “The 110 research institute is an organization with 7 rooms and 280 people. did.

He added, “We carry out the tasks of the party’s central office alone or operate to disrupt the other party’s computer command and control system,” he added.

It is said that the 110 Research Institute is receiving and delivering the program from outside, and is cooperating with the manpower dispatched overseas to handle the related work. In addition, it is analyzed that the 110 Research Institute studies software vulnerabilities and provides technical support to related organizations.

Unit 91 (small) is the main unit directly under the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau, the source said.

The source said, “(Station 91) is a place that specializes in infiltration information of computer programs in charge of the United States. Server) is dedicated to infiltrating the server.”

It is said that the department is specialized in stealing information related to strategic weapons such as nuclear and missiles.

The source added, “There are about 20,000 domestic (North Korean) personnel and about 3,000 overseas people in the Technical Reconnaissance Bureau.

It is known that the North Korean technical reconnaissance bureau has approximately 6,000 personnel. There is a possibility that the size of the organization has increased compared to the previous number, which is slightly higher than the previously known number of people.

Meanwhile, to a question raised by some about the establishment of a ‘Cyber ​​Strategic Command’ within the General Staff of the North Korean Army, the source replied, ‘I haven’t heard of it’.

First, the source said, “The word cyber itself is not a term for the Korean military (North Korean military).”

He continued, “Currently, in the military, there are specialized electronic warfare divisions at the corps, division, brigade, regiment, and battalion level as units directly under their control. I’ve never heard or seen it.”

As in the process of the Missile Guidance Bureau going through the Rocket Strategic Command (Strategic Rocket Army) to become a strategic army in the past, there was a need for a change in the unit organization, but there was no special movement.

However, it is unclear whether the Cyber ​​Strategy Command was created inside North Korea under a different name.

Source: DailyNK by

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