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North Korean hackers accused of stealing military files from South Korea and U.S.

American military data was also involved in the latest breach.


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Jun 13, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 3:12 pm CDT

North Korea is accused of stealing and deleting tens of thousands of defense industry files from South Korea in the latest act of cyberwar to strike the Korean peninsula, South Korean police reported on Monday.

The hacking, which police say originated in Pyongyang in 2014, targeted Korean Air—which makes parts for military jets—and tallied over 42,000 stolen records.

North Korean officials immediately denied the accusations.

American military data was also involved in the breach, including the “design map of the wing of the U.S. F-15 fighter jet and photos of parts of a medium altitude unmanned surveillance vehicle,” according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap.

Nothing in the breach will yield a major direct threat to South Korea’s national security, government officials stated.

The breach began when North Korean hackers exploited a Korean-developed software being used across private industry on the peninsula. The nature of the exploit or the targeted software is not yet clear. Hackers planted malicious code in dozens of South Korean machines as launching pads for future attacks.

While North Korea has repeatedly been accused of waging cyberwar against the South and around the world in recent years, steadfast denial is the regime’s standard response. In fact, that’s the response of almost all nations when accused of the increasingly common acts of cyberwar.

South Korean government officials attributed the attack to North Korean because some of the 16 servers used in the country’s capital were the same as those used in a 2013 attack against South Korea’s banks and television networks.

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*First Published: Jun 13, 2016, 10:50 am CDT