The authorities of North Korea employ more than 6,000 highly skilled hackers which constantly work on improving their skills, the New York Times reported on Monday. Moreover, North Korean experts have developed an effective malware for stealing money from foreign bank accounts. This information was provided by the U.S. and U.K. cyber security researchers investigating cyber attacks launched by North Korean hackers.
Unlike the North Korean nuclear weapons tests, which have led to economic sanctions, their cyber attacks still remain without an appropriate international reaction. Experts admit that cyber attacks remain an ideal weapon for isolated North Korea which has nothing to lose.
Primitive infrastructure of the country is far less vulnerable to external attacks, and hackers can work outside of North Korea without any risks. According to reaserchers, international community will never respond to North Korean cyber attacks with military actions in order to avoid escalation of the conflict between the DPRK and South Korea. “Cyberspace is an ideal powerful weapon for them (North Koreans). It provides low costs of entry, greater asymmetry, a certain level of anonymity and the ability to remain undetected”, said the U.S. National Security Agency former deputy director Chris Inglis.
According to Inglis, North Korean hackers can pose a threat to national and private infrastructures. In addition, cyber attacks are a source of income for North Korean government, as their CyberProgram is one of the most successful in the world. The secret to program’s success is not in advanced technologies, but in very low costs.
Last week Microsoft CEO Brad Smith accused the North Korean authorities of involvement in widespread global WannaCry ransomware attacks.