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North Korea has at least 6,000 cyber-warfare hackers in its ranks, many of whom are operating abroad in countries such as Belarus, China, India, Malaysia and even Russia. The crack squad has a number of divisions dedicated to launching cyberattacks.
The fearsome force was revealed by a new report by the US army, titled North Korean Tactics.
The 332-page document is a tactical manual used to train troops and military leaders, and has just been made public for the first time.
It is compiled with the help of confidential sources and is intended to prepare the US for what it should expect from the DPRK’s Korean People’s Army in the event of an active conflict.
The report details the size and organisation of North Korea’s electronic intelligence warfare and cyber units.
The manual names Bureau 121, the cyber warfare guidance unit, as the “primary organisation responsible for computer warfare” inside the hermit nation.
The Bureau has at least 1,000 elite hackers, who focus on other countries’ computer systems.
Bureau 121 recruits about 100 cyberspace hackers annually from North Korea’s Mirim College.
The report also revealed there are four subordinate units below the Bureau, including some 6,000 hackers which operate from other countries.
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One of the groups names is the Lazarus Group, “whose mission is to create social chaos”.
The hackers in this group have conducted numerous high profile cryptocurrency exchange hacks, and unleashed the WannaCry malware between 2016 and 2017.
This hacking technique saw the criminals attach files contain fraudulent software to gain access to individual devices.
If the software is downloaded, it autonomously installs itself and operates in the background, taking control of or manipulating data stored within the specific device.
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Andariel Group is another, which has 1,600 members and aims to “gather information by conducting reconnaissance on enemy computer systems”.
The US army said: “This group maps the enemy network for potential attack.”
The report also named the Blueneoroff group, comprised of about 1,700 members which is responsible for financial cybercrime.
The group concentrates on “long-term assessment and exploiting enemy network vulnerabilities”.
The fourth group is the Electronic Warfare Jamming regiment, which boasts between 2,000 and 3,000 troops.
This subdivision is responsible for jamming electronic equipment and is believed to operate out of military bases in Kaesong, Haeja, and Kumgang.
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