Thursday, May 19, 2011

North Korean cyber army increasingly sophisticated

South Korea’s intelligence agencies now believe that North Korea has the capability to "paralyze the U.S. Pacific Command and cause extensive damage to defense networks inside the United States,” Fox News reported Tuesday. According to Washington and Seoul, their abilities rival those of the CIA, it said.

Among the most frequent visitors to U.S. military websites, according to the U.S. Defense Department, are computers traced to North Korea, the report said.

The North Korean military has amassed as many as 30,000 electronic warfare specialists and they have become the elite core of the military, Fox News said, quoting defectors.

Defectors say that the regime now culls the brightest students from the nation’s universities and funnels them into special “secret” schools that concentrate on hacking and developing cyber warfare programs targeted at South Korea, the broadcaster said. At one secret school, security is so tight that only one outsider ― dictator Kim Jong-il ― is allowed to drive onto the campus.

According to Jang Se-yul, a defector who attended one of the schools and was an officer in the North Korean electronic warfare command, the heart of the effort is centered at Automation University, where “100 to 110 hackers a year” trained in advanced electronic espionage every year often, Fox News said.

“Modern war is electronic warfare. Victory or defeat in a modern war depends on how to carry out electronic warfare,” Kim told his military several years ago. Kim has since made cyber warfare a top, though secret, priority of his paranoid regime, it said.

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