via Korea Herald
The North Korean military has around 30,000 electronic warfare specialists with capabilities rivaling those of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Fox News reported Tuesday, citing defectors and other sources.
The U.S. broadcaster’s report titled “North Korea’s cyber army gets increasingly sophisticated,” came after a series of cyber attacks on key government and corporate websites in South Korea, which Seoul officials believe were masterminded by the communist state.
“According to defectors, the North Korean military has amassed as many as 30,000 electronic warfare specialists and they have become the elite core of the military,” the report said.
“Defectors say that the regime now culls the brightest students from the nation’s universities and funnels them into special secret schools that concentrate on hacking and developing cyber warfare programs targeted at South Korea.”
Pointing out that among the most frequent visitors to U.S. military web sites are computers traced to the North, it said the North could pose a serious threat to U.S. military networks.
“In fact, South Korea’s intelligence agencies now believe that North Korea has the capability to paralyze the U.S. Pacific Command and cause extensive damage to defense networks inside the United States,” the report said.
Citing one defector, who was an officer in the North Korean electronic warfare command, the report said, “The heart of the effort is centered at Automation University, where 100 to 110 hackers a year are trained in advanced electronic espionage every year.”
It also cited a comment by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on the importance of electronic warfare in the modern-era war, underscoring that Kim has made cyber warfare a “top, though secret, priority of his paranoid regime.”
The comment appeared in a manual on electronic warfare, which was published by the North Korean military in 2005 and obtained by a South Korean Christian group last August.