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North Korean hackers stole US F-15 fighter jets blueprints

As part of a years-long cyber attack, North Korean hackers have allegedly stolen 42,000 materials from South Korean organizations and government agencies, including blueprints for F-15 fighter jet wings.

The hacking began in 2014 and was first detected in February, according to South Korea's police cyber investigation unit. Reuters reports that more than 40,000 of the materials stolen were defense-related.


In March, the South's spy agency said it had intercepted an attempt to hack into South Korean computer networks to attack the transport system's control network, blaming the North for the attempt.




"F-15 FIGHTER JET WINGS BLUEPRINT"

The United States accused North Korea of a cyber attack against Sony Pictures in 2014 that led to the studio cancelling the release of a comedy based on the fictional assassination of leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea denied the accusation.

In the most recent case, documents stolen from the two conglomerates included blueprints for the wings of F-15 fighter jets, an official at the cyber investigation unit told Reuters by telephone.

Of the more than 42,000 materials stolen, more than 40,000 were defense-related.

South Korean media said the two conglomerates were the SK and Hanjin groups, but police declined to confirm that.

A spokesman at SK Holdings said four group affiliates were affected by the hacking but they worked with the police to quickly close the breach and the leaked documents were not classified.

A spokesman at Korean Air Lines, part of Hanjin Group, said the documents leaked from its network were not classified and no other group affiliates were affected.

A Defense Ministry official said none of the defense-related materials stolen was secret and there was no security breach. Representatives for the two organizations affected most recently, including Korean Air Lines, also stated that the leaked documents were not classified.

The hacking originated from an IP address traced to the North Korean capital and targeted network management software that is widely used by private companies and government agencies, police said, declining to identify the software.

The IP address was identical to one used in a 2013 cyber attack against South Korean banks and broadcasters that froze computer systems for more than a week. South Korea blamed the North for that attack, and the North denied responsibility.

Police said they worked with the affected companies and agencies to neutralize the malicious codes and prevent them from being used in a large-scale cyber attack.


The hackers don't appear to have any plans to act on the stolen documents and North Korea isn't exactly known for its aerospace expertise, so we probably don't have huge cause for concern. However, if the attacks continue, other military secrets could be at risk.

"There is a high possibility that the North aimed to cause confusion on a national scale by launching a simultaneous attack after securing many targets of cyber terror, or intended to continuously steal industrial and military secrets," the cyber investigation unit told Reuters.


The good news is that with the recent theft, South Korean police have disrupted the North's campaign, according to The Hill. Whether that's temporary or permanent is not yet clear, but the North has been extremely persistent so far, and is unlikely to give up because it got caught this time.


Source: Reuters, The Hill




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