North Korea is sending hacker cells to Europe and China to launch Cyber Attacks

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The news is out that North Korea is producing hacker cells called Unit 180 to travel to nations such as Europe and China in order to launch cyber attacks around the globe. Daily Mail reports that the money made by online hacking for Kim Jong Un is said to have surpassed the cash generated from drugs, smuggling, human trafficking and counterfeiting operations in the said nation.

However, North Korea’s Deputy UN Ambassador Kim In Ryong told a news conference yesterday that all such media reports are baseless and those linking the last week’s Wanna cry Ransomware attack to Pyongyang are cynic.

Kim In Ryong, representing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea aka North Korea told the news reporters that whenever something strange happens in the world, United States acts in a stereotyped way to connect it to North Korea or its leaders.

On the other hand, Michael Madden, a US-based expert on the North Korean leadership and who is working as a freelance consultant to Symantec threw some light on Unit 180. He said that the unit is one of the many elite cyber war groups in the North Korean Intelligence Community.

Unit 180 mainly comprised of school going computer wizards who are plucked from various educational institutes of the country and are given extensive training in carrying out attacks on behalf of the state.

Mr. Madden added that these school kids who complete training are then sent to other countries like China, Japan, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. They usually make a visit to the said countries on visiting or short term course related study visas. But in reality, they are provided with all financial help to secure a safe place and related infrastructure to launch attacks.

Kim Heung Kwang, a former North Korean professor in computer science who defected to South Korea in 2004 concurred with the claims published in Daily Mail. He, who still has sources in North Korea even today, said that Pyongyang’s cyber attacks aimed at raising cash are organized by Unit 180 which is a part of the Reconnaissance General Bureau(RCB) headed by a close aide to North Korea’s Kim Jong Yun. The said overseas intelligence agency is also known to engage in similar practices almost all former school students of North Korea who are working in other parts of the world in elite positions.

Daily Mail reports claim that North Korea encourages Unit 180’s objective for two reasons. One by moving to other nations, the cyber team can have better infrastructure and network speed to launch cyber attacks.  Secondly, they can launch attacks anonymously without a trace leading to their nation.

The UK based Media resource claims that North Korea is operating several cyber security companies in disguise of IT companies in nations like Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Pakistan, and Russia. Their main aim is to launch a cyber attack and to make money as much as possible.

More details are awaited!

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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