North Korean cyberattacks breach South Korea's atomic energy institute
North Korean hackers managed to breach cybersecurity of 'Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)' in South Korea, reported the South Korean Ministry of Science & Information Technology. However, the ministry also said the institute had contained the attacks by halting its Virtual Private Network and blocking the attacker's IP addresses.
While investigating the matter, the attack was traced to a North Korean cyberespionage group 'Kimsuky', reported ZDNet, a technology news site. Kim Jong-un's regime is believed to have allegedly entrusted Kimsuky to conduct a global intelligence-gathering mission on its behalf.
Here it is to be noted that North Korea is known as a vassal state of China due to its fragile economy and near-total dependency on Beijing for all its needs, including food. Taking advantage of the situation, China is using the North as a front to execute cyberattacks worldwide so that shifting the blame becomes easy.
In this case, considering the seriousness of the breach, it raises fears that North Korean cyberattacks may lead to a nuclear meltdown endangering thousands of lives globally. The fears are not unfound.
Over the last few years, North Korea has emerged as a prime perpetrator of cybercrimes across the world. Just in February this year, South Korea had revealed North Korea was launching over 1.58 million cyberattacks globally daily. Just before it, the United Nations reported a North Korean cyber theft of $300 million. Pyongyang used the money to fund its banned nuclear and missile programmes. The 'Wannacry' ransomware attack of 2017 was also blamed on the North. It had spread to 150 countries as per a report by 'Europol', the European Union's law enforcement agency.
Currently, North Korea is facing grave food shortage and famine. It is feared that the crisis could kill millions. The situation is so bad that several foreign embassies have shut down, with the foreign diplomats having left fearing a major famine that may even affect them. The economy, too, is severely sick. In such dire conditions and with North Korea having made cyberattacks and cybertheft its major income source, the world needs be prepared to face more North Korean cyberattacks in the time to come.