North Korea Is Using The Internet Like The Mafia

North Korea has long been known as a hermit kingdom, but it is learning to embrace the Internet. The Asian country has “dramatically” changed its Internet use patterns, according to a new report, which could make imposing sanctions and defending American networks more difficult.

North Korea is using cyber operations to conduct low-level financial crimes and the country’s leaders are increasingly using the Internet as a part of their daily life, according to a new report from threat intelligence firm. Recorded Future

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is quick to embrace technology and then cast it aside, directing hacking operations along the way as he runs the country “like a criminal syndicate,”according to the Recorded Future report.

One example of North Korea’s technological experimentation is its use of social media. In recent months, it appears North Korean leaders are embracing LinkedIn, although it is not clear what their goals are.

Hackers from the country have also developed “an asset-backed cryptocurrency scam,” according to the report, which helps “to raise funds for the Kim regime.”

North Korea has begun to “professionalise their use of the Internet,” and the web has become a more regular tool for top officials, according to Recorded Future. The development “will exacerbate existing challenges in sanctions enforcement and computer network defense.”

Although North Korean hackers have been accused of dramatic cyber operations that include stealing $81 million from the Bank of Bangladesh and hacking into Sony Pictures, “from a numbers prospective, those operations are a small percentage of what North Korean operators do every day,” according to Priscilla Moriuchi, the director of strategic threat development at Recorded Future.

“The majority of their average day-to-day work is this kind of low-level financial crime because they have a salary that they have to earn every year.”

There was no change in North Korean cyber activity following Kim’s June meeting with President Donald Trump, Moriuchi said.

Recorded Future’s report comes as senior US officials have identified North Korea as one of its main threats in cyberspace, and the Department of Justice has brought legal action against accused hackers.

Along with Russia, China and Iran, North Korea is “operating beyond the bounds of what we would consider reasonable,” Rob Joyce, senior adviser to the National Security Agency, said during an Oct. 23 event hosted by Palo Alto Networks. Joyce described North Korea as “a nation state stealing hard currency … they are bank robbers.”

The Department of Justice indicted Park Jin Hyok, a North Korean hacker, Sept. 6 for his role in crimes that include the WannaCry 2.0 global ransomware attack. North Korea’s government is responsible for “hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars’ worth of damage,” assistant attorney general John Demers said when the charges were filed.

US officials have found it is difficult to deter North Korea’s profitable hacking activity. Because North Korea is not widely connected to the Internet, there are not many digital targets for US Cyber Command, according to a former US intelligence official.

For years, US officials were cautious about hacking North Korea because a large portion of its Internet travels through China, current and former White House officials have told Fifth Domain. 

There was an apparent fear that if the Americans were caught in the act of hacking by the Chinese, officials from Beijing might think they were being targeted, instead of North Korea.

But Moriuchi said there were other ways of digitally deterring North Korea. Stopping North Korean cyber activity will require “taking them out at the knees,” she said, and treating the country’s digital operations as if it were a criminal syndicate. 

It means arresting North Korean hackers if they travel outside the country, indicting officials and working with partner law enforcement agencies.

Fifth Domain:

You Might Also Read:

N Korea Is A Bigger Cyber Threat Than Russia

« British Refuse To Co-operate With Belgian Hacking Inquiry
Machine Learning & Big Data - Where You Least Expect It »

Perimeter 81

Directory of Suppliers

eBook: Practical Guide to Security in the AWS Cloud

eBook: Practical Guide to Security in the AWS Cloud

AWS Marketplace would like to present you with a digital copy of the new book, Practical Guide to Security in the AWS Cloud, by the SANS Institute.

Practice Labs

Practice Labs

Practice Labs is an IT competency hub, where live-lab environments give access to real equipment for hands-on practice of essential cybersecurity skills.

Cylance Smart Antivirus

Cylance Smart Antivirus

An antivirus that works smarter, not harder, from BlackBerry. Lightweight, non-intrusive protection powered by artificial intelligence. BUY NOW - LIMITED DISCOUNT OFFER.

CSI Consulting Services

CSI Consulting Services

Get Advice From The Experts: * Training * Penetration Testing * Data Governance * GDPR Compliance. Connecting you to the best in the business.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory listing 5,000+ specialist service providers.

BackupVault

BackupVault

BackupVault is a leading provider of completely automatic, fully encrypted online, cloud backup.

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81

Perimeter 81 is a Zero Trust Network as a Service designed to simplify secure network, cloud and application access for the modern and distributed workforce.

NetworkWorld

NetworkWorld

Network World is an IDG Enterprise brand and the premier provider of news, intelligence and insight for network and IT executives.

Denim Group

Denim Group

Denim Group specialise in secure software development, security testing and security advisory services.

Sift

Sift

The Sift Digital Trust Platform protects your business and customers from all vectors of fraud and abuse through our Live Machine Learning, global trust network and automation technologies.

Cyber NYC

Cyber NYC

Cyber NYC is a suite of strategic investments to grow New York City’s cybersecurity workforce, help companies drive innovation, and build networks and community spaces.

GV

GV

GV provides venture capital funding to bold new companies in the fields of life science, healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, cyber security and agriculture.

Curtail

Curtail

Curtail keeps businesses running by using live traffic analysis to identify defects before software goes live, and detect and isolate security threats before they impact systems.

Flix11

Flix11

Flix11 is a Cyber Security & ICT Solutions focused company. We provide a range of products and services in Cyber Security, Internet of Things (IoT) and infrastructure solutions.

Binary Security AS

Binary Security AS

Binary Security is a Norwegian information security consultancy company. We are specialists at application security, penetration testing and secure code reviews.