North Korea accused of hacking South Korea chip equipment manufacturers, according to Seoul


North Korean hackers have infiltrated South Korean chip equipment manufacturers, as reported by South Korea’s intelligence agency. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) states that Pyongyang is attempting to develop semiconductors for its weapons programs. This revelation comes shortly after President Yoon Suk Yeol cautioned about potential cyber attacks by North Korea to disrupt upcoming elections.

The NIS suspects that North Korea may be striving to produce its own semiconductors due to challenges in acquiring them because of sanctions. The agency believes that Pyongyang’s semiconductor efforts are driven by the necessity for chips in its weapons programs, such as satellites and missiles.

According to the NIS, North Korea breached the servers of two chip equipment companies in December and February, stealing product designs and facility photographs. The agency also issued a warning to other companies in the chip manufacturing industry to safeguard against cyber attacks.

Despite not disclosing the affected firms or indicating that North Korea obtained valuable information, the NIS mentioned that South Korean companies have been prime targets for North Korean hackers since late last year. The hackers are suspected of employing a technique known as “living off the land,” which utilizes existing legitimate tools within servers to evade detection by security software.

While Pyongyang denies involvement in cyber crimes, Seoul has accused North Korean hackers of stealing significant amounts of money, often in cryptocurrency, to finance the regime and its nuclear weapons program. It is estimated that North Korea has stolen up to $3 billion since 2016 and conducts hacks to acquire state secrets, including advanced weapons technology.

Despite facing severe international sanctions, North Korea is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its cyber attack strategies.

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