Thursday, February 08, 2018

Inside North Korea's Hacker Army

For decades, North Korea's government has sought to use modern technology to transform one of the most isolated, impoverished parts of the world. During the 1990s, Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un, touted programming as a way for the country to rebuild its economy after years of catastrophic famine. He established technology degrees at Pyongyang's universities and attended annual software-writing contests to put gold watches on the wrists of winners. Reports from Korea watchers suggest that, sometime in the back half of the decade, Kim Jong Il formed a cyber army designed to expand North Korea's hacking activities. Initially the unit managed only random incursions, on targets like government websites and banking networks, but when Kim died in 2011, his son expanded the program. Soon it was launching attacks more consistently and on more important targets, such as nuclear plants, defense networks, and financial institutions.


Formally, North Korea denies engaging in hacking and describes accusations to that effect as enemy propaganda. It says its overseas computer efforts are directed at promoting its antivirus software in the global market. The country has for more than a decade been working on such programs, including one called SiliVaccine. It also has a homegrown operating system, Red Star, that software developers have pointed out looks suspiciously like macOS. ...

Jong [Hyok] estimates that he was eventually bringing in around $100,000 a year. Because he and his cohorts were regarded as productive, they were allowed to live relatively well. They enjoyed air conditioning during the summer and ventured into the neighborhood in chaperoned groups. In their spare time they played Counter-Strike, sometimes sneaking down at night to their cubicles to catch up on South Korean soap operas.

Not all of the cybercrime units were as fortunate ...


Good article, I read the whole article very interesting

#1 | Posted by PunchyPossum at 2018-02-08 12:21 AM


Well good for you!

[Pats the little possum's head sadly.]

#2 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2018-02-08 12:33 AM

2 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2018-

Instead of being a ass you should of read the article you probably would found it interesting to.

I have read a few articles on north Korean hackers this is the first article I have read where they actually interviewed a few of them and described what their life was like and what they did

It is not a pro war article

#3 | Posted by PunchyPossum at 2018-02-08 02:53 AM


You were right. Absolutely tragic. Fascinating and yet so sad.

My apologies to you through and through.

#4 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2018-02-08 03:11 AM

That article is so poorly written that I just couldn't finish it. It repeats the same information over and over. The information is already well known, nothing new there at all. N. Korean hacking is something we've known about for years, I don't really think there was one single new fact presented in that article though the few facts they did present were presented over and over. Not great reporting and terrible writing skills.

#5 | Posted by danni at 2018-02-08 07:03 AM

#1 | Posted by PunchyPossum

I too have read about them and this article is a bit different. I agree - it is a very good article and very insightful. It makes you think about a lot of things other than just the hacking they are doing.

#6 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-02-08 01:33 PM

#5 | Posted by danni


#7 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-02-08 01:37 PM

We do more better hacking than North Korea. Difference is our actions are good, their's are very bad.

#8 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-02-08 05:18 PM


This was a good article.

I dont know WTF Danni is talking about..

#9 | Posted by boaz at 2018-02-09 11:30 AM

I'm glad y'all enjoyed it! The article was full of new information for myself - I love coming across pieces whichever shed light on a part of the world or concepts which aren't widely understood.

How NK selects, trains, and then "deploys" their cyber agents across borders to make money by any means possible, which is later trafficked back to the homeland, and the treatment of those persons - what an insight into an underworld operation!

#10 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-02-10 12:09 PM

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