North Korean hackers target nuclear research centre

The attack on a South Korean government-funded research institute has been described as “a massive security breach”

A North Korean hacking group has successfully hacked one of South Korea’s largest state-run think tanks, responsible for researching nuclear technology, it has emerged.

The breach, which happened on 14 May, affected the government-funded Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), according to South Korean lawmaker Ha Tae-keung, as reported by Yonhap.

Ha, a representative from the People Power party, South Korea's main opposition party, stated that KAERI initially tried to cover up the breach by denying the attack took place, only for it to later admit that its network was breached. The think tank is reportedly still investigating the nature of the attack and whether any data was stolen.

The lawmaker cited analysis by cyber security firm IssueMakersLab, which found that the attack involved 13 IP addresses, some of which were traced to Kimsuky, a unit with North Korea’s military intelligence agency.

"If the country's nuclear power and other key technologies have been leaked, it could become a massive security breach following Pyongyang's hacking of Seoul military cyber command in 2016," said Ha.

Ha added that some of the IP addresses that breached the KAERI network used the email address of Moon Chung-in, a former advisor to President Moon Jae-in. The email account was reportedly hacked in 2018, but it wasn’t until 2020 that a local cyber security firm found that Kimsuky was behind this attack as well.

Related Resource

Security awareness training strategies for account takeover protection

Why you need an inside-the-perimeter strategy for internal threats

Security awareness training strategies for account takeover protection - whitepaper from MimecastDownload now

In November last year, pharmaceutical companies researching treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 were actively being targeted by prominent state-backed hackers from North Korea and Russia. Microsoft stated that these groups were launching “unconscionable” cyber attacks against the companies.

The number of cyber attacks from North Korean sources is expected to increase this year, according to a report published in February. It detailed that the closure of North Korea’s border with China, along with severe typhoons and floods, to be key factors in the potential increase of cyber crime.

Featured Resources

Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks

MIT technology review insights

Download now

Cloud storage performance analysis

Storage performance and value of the IONOS cloud Compute Engine

Download now

The Forrester Wave: Top security analytics platforms

The 11 providers that matter most and how they stack up

Download now

Harness data to reinvent your organisation

Build a data strategy for the next wave of cloud innovation

Download now

Recommended

Huawei to invest $100 million in APAC startups
startups

Huawei to invest $100 million in APAC startups

3 Aug 2021
Square to acquire Afterpay for $29 billion
mergers and acquisitions

Square to acquire Afterpay for $29 billion

2 Aug 2021
Tesla Megapack goes up in flames at Australian battery site
Hardware

Tesla Megapack goes up in flames at Australian battery site

30 Jul 2021
Microsoft mulls investment in Indian hotel startup Oyo
Cloud

Microsoft mulls investment in Indian hotel startup Oyo

30 Jul 2021

Most Popular

RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility
high-performance computing (HPC)

RMIT to be first Australian university to implement AWS supercomputing facility

28 Jul 2021
Zyxel USG Flex 200 review: A timely and effective solution
Security

Zyxel USG Flex 200 review: A timely and effective solution

28 Jul 2021
Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks
Whitepaper

Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks

22 Jul 2021