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N. Korea incorporates stolen S. Korean technology in SLBM

N. Korea incorporates stolen S. Korean technology in SLBM

Posted February. 27, 2024 07:32,   

Updated February. 27, 2024 07:32


Intelligence agencies have determined that North Korea has used technology stolen from South Korea’s defense industry through cyber hacking to strengthen core strategic weapons. North Korea significantly reduced the development period for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) by using cold launch technology stolen from South Korean shipbuilding companies in 2016. Its military reconnaissance satellite, which was launched last year, also used launch vehicle and optical equipment technology stolen from South Korean and foreign satellite manufacturers.

Warnings on North Korean cyberattacks are nothing new, but this is the first time that South Korean intelligence authorities acknowledged that South Korea’s technology had been applied to strategic weapons such as North Korean SLBMs and reconnaissance satellites. It is a wake-up call to North Korea's cyber hacking posing a serious threat to South Korea’s security. Korea’s National Intelligence Service and the German intelligence agency, Bundesamt fur Verfassungsschuts (BfV), recently announced a joint security recommendation to prevent damage from North Korean cyber attacks in the defense industry. Foreign media reports also show that North Korean hackers are using generative AI technology to steal information by targeting personal weaknesses.

South Korean intelligence agency is paying particular attention to the attacking patterns of North Korean hacker organizations that focus on targets following the instructions of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. When Kim stressed the importance of strengthening naval power while inspecting naval units in July and August last year, North Korean cyberattacks heavily targeted four Korean shipbuilding companies. After Kim vowed to ‘strengthen drone production’ in October last year, many South Korean drone companies were hacked. Intelligence authorities are paying close attention as the next target may likely be nuclear submarine technology, which Kim Jong Un recently promoted.

North Korea uses cyber hacking not only to earn foreign income by stealing virtual currency but also as a low-cost and lethal weapon to acquire weapons technology. It has a history of hacking Sony Pictures to produce a film that caricatured its leader. In the cyber world, a defense network, no matter how sophisticated it is, cannot keep up with ceaselessly advancing attack levels. Nevertheless, investment and training in cybersecurity must be strengthened to ensure constant alertness. We cannot no longer tolerate the situation where our self-development technology is used to develop lethal weapons that are used against us.