North Korea is continuing to strengthen its ranks of elite hackers and could have up to 3,000 of them, a North Korean defector said in Seoul on Wednesday. (Update: New information below)
Kim Heung-kwang, a former professor at Pyongyang Computer Technology University and member of the North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity group, told a cyber security conference that North Korea likely has around 3,000 hackers, according to local news reports.
The state previously had around 500, but raised the number last year when the cyber warfare unit saw its status raised, Yonhap reported him as saying. The unit sits under the Reconnaissance General More >
South Korean military personnel have been warned against opening suspicious e-mails and attachments as Seoul worries North Korea is further expanding its hacking activities, according to several media reports this week.
Around 60 officers who graduated from Seoul’s Korea Military Academy received e-mails that purported to be from fellow graduates, reports The Korea Herald.
The messages were sent from Hanmail accounts and four of the addresses used were “firstname.lastname@example.org,” “email@example.com,” “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com,” said The Seoul Shimun. The messages contained malicious code in attachments.
Breaking into personal computers through such spam mail is a tried and tested method for hackers all over the More >
The North Korean state TV evening news recently provided a glimpse at one slice of the country’s PC manufacturing industry. (Update: A similar PC has been spotted in the U.S. Read below)
The report took viewers to the factory and introduced the three computers being made, two of which are laptops and one of which is intended to be used with a television.
The report aired on March 10 and I was intending to write about it on March 11 … then the earthquake struck. I’ve finally had time to do it, and you can read my piece here on PC World: More >
A website for North Korea’s Elderly Care Fund is now online.
The site, available in Korean and English, introduces the organization and its aims.
The fund was recently established, according to a KCNA report from January this year.
It reported money for the organization will come from “the institution for protecting the aged and those donated by international organizations, charity organizations and overseas compatriots and others.” The new website is already reporting on an €800,000 project with the European Union to help the elderly in the DPRK.
The site also has a photo of what appears to be computer tuition for the elderly. The More >
A couple of new details about Star JV, the company now responsible for North Korea’s connection to the global Internet, came to light this week.
They were included in a report from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) about the reassignment of the country’s dot-kp domain to Star JV.
The report reveals the mission of the company and its president:
Proposed Sponsoring Organisation and Contacts
The proposed sponsoring organisation is Star Joint Venture Company, based in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The company is a joint venture between the Korean Post and Telecommunications Corporation, a governmental enterprise; and Loxley Pacific Company Limited. The More >
North Korea’s dot-kp top-level Internet domain was reassigned after the company running it, KCC Europe, ended service and went months without replying to queries from Pyongyang, according to a report released this week.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which oversees country-level domains and the IP address system, switched control of dot-kp from the Korea Computer Center to Star Joint Venture earlier this month. Star JV is the DPRK-Thai company that’s been putting Internet connectivity into Pyongyang.
This year’s Spring International Trade Fair is taking place in Pyongyang this week.
As usual, the fair serves as a showcase for domestic products and technology and a place for foreign companies to display their goods and make domestic contacts. This week’s fair has drawn companies from China, Germany, Malaysia, Mongolia, Syria, Switzerland, Singapore, the U.K., Australia, Austria, Italy, Indonesia, France, Poland and Taiwan, reported KCNA.
The event opened on Monday at the Three Revolution Exhibition in the north of the city and drew a number of top-officials. Present on the fair’s opening day included Kang Sok Ju, vice-premier; Ri Ryong Nam, More >
The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology enrolled an additional 100 students at the start of the current academic semester, according to a foundation that supports the school.
The first classes at PUST began in October 2010 with 160 students enrolled, said reports at the time. The latest intake will take the student body to 260 members, assuming none of the initial students has dropped out.
That’s pretty small for a university, but PUST isn’t interesting for the number of students. The school has raised heads because of its unusual backing and plans.
The university is a sister establishment of the Yanbian University of More >
The DPRK has made its first comment on allegations that it was behind a cyber attack on a large South Korean bank and, not surprisingly, has denied any involvement.
Last week South Korean prosecutors said they had found evidence that North Korea was behind the April attack, which brought chaos to the computer system and ATM network of Nonghyup Bank for several days. It was one of the most disruptive cyber attacks to-date on the South Korean financial system.
Prosecutors made the allegations after examining the laptop of an IBM employee working at the bank. The laptop was apparently used as a More >