Millennium Post

Hacking their way

The much talked about Hanoi Summit may have been aborted mid-way but the North Koreans are on with hacking. A group of hackers from them is believed to be actively targeting US businesses and "critical infrastructure," cybersecurity firm McAfee reported. McAfee said it found that the North Korean hackers have tried to infiltrate nearly 80 business in critical sectors like finance, telecommunications, energy and defence around the world. Governments themselves were also targeted. In fact, hacking is believed to have been on during US President Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un. The largest number of recent attacks primarily target Germany, Turkey and the United Kingdom as well as the United States. Pyongyang is believed to operate some of the most sophisticated hacking cells in the world, though the North Korean government has long denied any wrongdoing. McAfee said it partnered with a "government entity" in its investigation. The company said the hacking operation shared "numerous technical links" to the Lazarus Group, North Korean hackers believed to have been behind bank heists around the world. "McAfee believes that such digital forensic evidence must be complemented by traditional evidence from law enforcement and government agencies to make such assertions," Raj Samani, McAfee's chief scientist, said. The North Koreans have quickly become a major cyber threat in recent years. But unlike the other countries, which focus more on intelligence operations, the North Koreans focus their energy on cash. US officials said last week that Washington believes the North Korean government has stepped up cyber attacks targeting financial institutions in a desperate bid to acquire cash, as international sanctions levied against Pyongyang have squeezed its economy. Kim and Trump's meeting in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal, as the two sides could not agree to a detailed plan exchanging sanctions relief for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. Trump said North Korea insisted that Washington lift all sanctions. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho disputed that assessment in an early morning impromptu press conference just hours after Trump spoke. He said that Pyongyang only asked the Trump administration to remove the sanctions "that hamper the economy and the livelihood of our people."

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