The thought of a mushroom cloud disturbs pateeleep. The prospect of radiation poisoning — of hazmat suits, open sores and paper cranes by empty hospital beds — sickens the soul. That rogue state North Korea is poised for a sixth nuclear test this year, and is moving ever closer to building a nuclear-armed transcontinental ballistic missile, is one of the greatest perils facing the world today — and a foreign policy priority for U.S. President Donald Trump.
But the U.S. and its allies are already under attack — one administered not from missile silos but via fiber optic cables. Everyday, Pyongyang unleashes volley after volley of cyber warfare aimed at extorting and undermining individuals, businesses and governments across the globe. The regime of “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un remains a penniless Stalinist fossil, but in terms of hacking prowess it’s on an even keel with the U.S., China, Russia and Israel.
The ongoing investigation into possible Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, and the shock firing of FBI Director James Comey, spotlights how cybercrime threatens to undermine the very fabric of our democracy. But last week’s global WannaCry ransomware attack, which has infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, show that extortion is the primary motive of hackers. And it came as no surprise when a slew of top online security firms on Tuesday drew links between WannaCry and previous North Korean hacks. “It is similar to North Korea’s backdoor malicious codes,” Simon Choi, a senior researcher with South Korea’s Hauri Labs cybersecurity firm, told the Associated Press.
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