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North Korea’s hacking abilities are even stronger than we thought

February 20, 2018

Pyongyang has a surprisingly powerful cyber-espionage team at its disposal, according to a new report.

The news: Security researchers at FireEye have published research describing a hacking group called APT37, or Reaper. FireEye says that there is “high confidence that [its] activity is carried out on behalf of the North Korean government.”

What it does: Cyber-espionage, mainly to steal industrial secrets—details about electronics, manufacturing, aerospace, cars, you name it. When it started in 2012, it largely targeted South Korea, but it recently turned its attention to Japan, Vietnam, and the Middle East.

The tricks: Wired has a nice rundown on its techniques, explaining that Reaper has “planted custom-coded malware on victims’ computers capable of everything from eavesdropping via an infected PC’s microphone to data-wiping attacks.”

Why it matters: North Korea is usually considered a scrappy, if aggressive, underdog. The news suggests its capabilities are even stronger than previously predicted.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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