Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

United States shows off bombers again over Korea

United States shows off bombers again over Korea

News of the hack is likely to further fuel tensions between the USA and North Korea, as leaders of the two countries have been exchanging insults over Pyongyang's recent missile tests.

Last month, James Mattis, the USA defence secretary, warned any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or allies, "will be met with a massive military response". "This activity was early-stage reconnaissance, and not necessarily indicative of an imminent, disruptive cyber attack that might take months to prepare if it went undetected". Although no evidence was uncovered of the hackers having compromised industrial control systems, the phishing emails sent to targeted firms may be indicative of a possible disruptive attack in the future. All this probing is nonetheless a cause for concern.

The US and South Korea have been aware of North Korea's bold hacking operations for several years, linking Pyongyang to a series of sophisticated cyberattacks.

The attacks linked to North Korea have been created to interfere with the distribution of anti-North Korea propaganda and the acquisition of funds as the worldwide community increases economic pressure on the regime, espionage, and possible retaliation. "This incident did not demonstrate the ability to disable operations", FireEye said.

Seoul says North Korea has repeatedly staged cyberattacks on South Korean business and government websites.

A South Korean lawmaker said Tuesday that North Korean hackers may have stolen highly classified military documents that include U.S.

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Documents including wartime contingency plans put together with the USA were stolen from South Korea's defence ministry. "No one has any doubts about that", Milley told reporters.

Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances on Wednesday that 235 gigabytes of military documents were taken from the Defense Integrated Data Center in September previous year, citing information from unnamed South Korean defence officials.

The South Korean Defence Ministry's official stance is that they cannot confirm anything the lawmaker said in terms of the hacked content due to the sensitivity of the matter.

US Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made clear Monday what a bind the US is in when it comes to solving the challenge of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, stating there are "no risk-free options" but said there is also not an "indefinite amount of time" to solve the crisis. The group behind those attacks are named Andariel and likely a sub-group of the attackers behind the Sony attacks, WannaCry and SWIFT banks.

Senior diplomats of South Korea and the United States will hold a vice-ministerial strategic dialogue next week in Seoul, South Korea's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

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