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North Korea's School For Hackers? 386

Posted by simoniker
from the if-in-doubt-consult-bond-movie dept.
Makoto writes "How do you launch a cyber-war with no IP infrastructure? South Korea claims that North Korea is training about 100 "cybersoldiers" per year in electronic warfighting tools and techniques, including writing viruses and hacking. But according to a story at Wired News, North Korea can barely keep its electrical grid up - not to mention feed its people. Even the Pentagon says North Korea's hacker academy is probably just propaganda by South Korea."
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North Korea's School For Hackers?

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  • Or maybe it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beallj (594139) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:24PM (#6100692)
    Just because they don't have a general electrical grid doesn't mean that they can't keep electricity going to their "hacker compound".
    • Your right, but what if part of their training is to try to hack a server on the other side of town before a power outage knocks it out.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:33PM (#6100777)
      It's a very restricted society though. No Jolt, no Cheetos, probably very limited pr0n resources....people do need motivation and energy afterall. Do the N. Koreans honestly think they can win? Fah..
    • by Alkaiser (114022) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:50PM (#6100915) Homepage
      Just because they're hacker from North Korea doesn't mean they live in North Korea. All they have to do is cross 1 border, and they're in the most wired nation in the world.

      Who keeps all their spies in their own country anyway?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      1) Electricity shortage
      2) Little available food

      Obviously, they [North Korea] is training its entire populous to live like geeks [top ramen noodle rations] and use the ultra-low power Via C3 platform. Why can't you see this, beallj? Their power grid is pressed to the limits because North Korea bounced a check to purchase a shit load of computers and is now in the process training everyone to fight the Matrix^H^H^H^H^H^H United States corporation. If they were using Athlon or Pentium4, they wouldn't have
    • Maybe their cybersoliders keep hacking the power grid.
    • We had that power deregulation fiasco about the same time the economy went down hill. Coincidence?

      I think not!

      It just shows to go ya, if you can't keep your electrical grid running, you can't have hacking!
  • Well, c'mon... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skyshadow (508) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:25PM (#6100698) Homepage
    But according to a story at Wired News, North Korea can barely keep its electrical grid up - not to mention feed its people.

    While that's true, they've also managed to turn out atomic weapons, which is quite a bit more complicated than training someone to use nmap. So, really, a lack of a reliable national power grid and insufficiant will to feed the masses does not necessarily exclude the possibility that they're training script kiddies....

    • that's true. (Score:3, Informative)

      by twitter (104583)
      People from South Korea have told me about all sorts of nutty things the Commies do. They send commandos into South Korea to plant weapons and explosives. You hear about it every now and then where a group gets caught, but the "objective" western media miss many damning details. North Korea gets up to this kind of stuff despite their own people not having enough to eat.

      It may be just for "propaganda". Propaganda is very important to them. Blocking legitimate communications, astroturfing and sabotage a

      • Re:that's true. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FunkSoulBrother (140893) on Monday June 02, 2003 @07:18PM (#6101530)
        yes, because South Koreans are the first and best impartial group to ask when you want to know whether North Korea is being good and evil.

        Why that would be like asking the United States if there were WMD in Iraq.

        Do you think Eritrea and Ethiopia joined the "coaltion of the willing" because they believed the US and felt a moral obligation to stop Saddam, or do you think maybe they just both wanted the US on their side in a border dispute, and couldn't give a shit whether the US was telling the truth about Iraq.

        The point of all of this is when there is a dispute, its best to hear the account of imparital bystander than that of the people involved in the dispute.
    • Actually it was a story in the North Korean press that Wired News can barely keep its electricity up - not to mention pay its people.
    • Re:Well, c'mon... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vladkrupin (44145) on Monday June 02, 2003 @07:27PM (#6101608) Homepage
      While that's true, they've also managed to turn out atomic weapons, which is quite a bit more complicated than training someone to use nmap.

      You've gotta love our fellow /.'ers who are still that naive. We've got to put them in a jar and keep them in a museum for future generations to look at - it would be a shame if we loose you guys for good...

      No, I didn't mean to insult you, skyshadow (sorry if I did), but seriously, when was the last time we could trust what we hear from the media in general or the whitehouse in particular? Even South Korea now says that most likely the Noth is bluffing, and there is precisely zero conclusive intelligence results to substantiate the claim that they have any nukes. They are bluffing and trying to blackmail US and others into giving them energy (they really don't have much of a choice, BTW). It's that simple.

      Also consider that according to intelligence, N Korea possibly has enough radioactive material for a bomb. No proof of the existence of the bomb itself though. No word of whether they have sufficient expertise to build one. If you consider that we have an 'undeniable' proof that Iraq has chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons, and we haven't found squat there yet, I wouldn't be very convinced that allegations about Korea are anywhere close to truth at all. After all, if we can't find evidence to back up the 'undeniable proof', what are the chances of finding evidence to support the 'possibility'?

      And claiming that they were preparing hackers for 20 years... Give me a break! If 20 years ago we knew what computers would become now, chances are everyone would've given much thought to such things as security, Y2K problems, etc, and we wouldn't be seeing a few dozen new M$ holes a week. I doubt any country, including (and especially) N.Korea could've had that much foresight. US didn't see that; Europe didn't; N.Korea did. They must have a really good magic 8-ball or something!

      It's very easy to declare someone you don't like a terrorist, an axis of evil, and blame them for all possible sins while attaching every negative label available. Especially when no proof of such allegations is necessary, or even expected. While I don't know much about N.Korea in particular (besides that they aren't the nicest guys on the block), I am very sceptical that any of the allegations made can stick to them. The only reason why these allegations aren't seen as totally bogus is that it's not in their best interests to refute them. They want to look scarier than they really are so they can blackmail others into giving them what they need (in this case energy, whether in petroleum from US or otherwise). And all that cyber-terrorism crap is nothing more than a FUD that is a result of someone's sick imagination.
    • IP connectivity (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Alan Cox (27532)
      North Korea also has plenty of IP connectivity. If you look back through the news you'll discover their government did a hosting deal with a large internet casino where the casino did all the work and the government got some of the bandwidth.
  • by uberdave (526529) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:25PM (#6100707) Homepage
    Maybe they can't keep the power grid up because the CyberWarrior School uses that as a practice target.

    Come and get me Script Kiddies! My IP address is 127.0.0.1
  • by Henry Stern (30869) <henry@stern.ca> on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:28PM (#6100724) Homepage
    So what if they can't keep the power grid up now. If their government-sanctioned hax0r d00dz piss in the wrong corn flakes, they will have a lot more trouble with their power grid, communications systems, sewage systems and whatever else air strikes like to land on.

    So what do you think? Can government-spondored hacking (I really hate the "cracking" euphemism, sorry) be considered an act of war?
  • Link this article with that one [slashdot.org] and you know how the next Korean war will take place (with the 3l337 south koreans this time).

    Thank you Slashdot !

  • Uses (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:28PM (#6100731) Homepage
    Oh, the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea has no problem keeping the lights on at its military bases. It's the civil population that suffers. The DPRK military hoards food shipments for itself instead of distributing it to the people. But hey, the mass starvation in North Korea can hardly be laid at the feet of the ruling Communist government. Let's all repeat together - "IT'S AMERICA'S FAULT!"
  • Trust noone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rembem (621820) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:28PM (#6100732)
    So the Pentagon in spewing propaganda about South Korean propaganda about North Korea. Hmm.. Who to trust?
  • by kavachameleon (637997) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:29PM (#6100737)
    "Hacker" Training in Korea: how to spoof other ISPs through your country's servers.
  • Why Not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Davak (526912) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:29PM (#6100740) Homepage

    Even the Pentagon says North Korea's hacker academy is probably just propaganda by South Korea.


    In other news... we still have not found any weapons of mass destruction In Iraq despite our government telling us that they there.

    Even if they do have a hacker school, so what? Like we here in the states do not teach a subset of our military these skills. Hacking is cheap and easy way of causing a lot of damage. It's a smart thing for them to try.

    Davak
    • i was wondering whether or not we do (you sed so, so, ok). anyone have any more info on our own hacker schools?
    • Re:Why Not? (Score:2, Informative)

      by RealAlaskan (576404)
      ... we still have not found any weapons of mass destruction In Iraq ...

      Why would this matter, to you or to anyone else? Whether or not Hussein was able to successfully build stuff to kill us, he was still able to kill his own people, and we put a stop to that.

      Do you think that it really doesn't matter what the wogs do to each other? I think that the people there are human, and it would have been terribly inhumane to leave them to suffer from Hussein and the Baathists.

      There were three entirely adequa

      • While I personally find your statement true, the fact remains:

        If the USA was going in there to liberate the Iraqis from the start, then that should be the reason given from the start... not to find and destroy "weapons of mass distruction".

        The fruit should have been called a lemon all along, instead of an orange just because it is sweeter... the handling of the affair by the american government is a disgrace and an offence to its citizens and residents.
        • Here's what happened:

          The cops kicked down the door, thinking the guy inside the house was a serial killer they were looking for. No, it turns out he's not - but it also turns out he had slaughtered his 3 kids and wife.

          I think we can still call the bust a success even if we didn't catch the exact guy we were looking for.

          -Erwos
      • Re:Why Not? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dogfart (601976) on Monday June 02, 2003 @06:14PM (#6101111) Homepage Journal
        If point 3 is reason enough to invade a country, then there are at least a dozen countries in Africa alone that we should target for invasion.

        When do we start?

        Sudan - watch out! Burundi - take that! Zimbabwe - you're next!

        • Re:Why Not? (Score:3, Informative)

          by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
          Point of fact, there are some countries, France chief among them, who base their entire foreign policy on automatically opposing the United States. You can bet that these opponents would surely attempt to thwart any U.S. interventions in Africa. In addition, France in particular considers large regions of Africa within its spehre of interest, and would rabidly oppose a great increase in U.S. power anywhere near those areas.
      • Regarding point 1... this is NOT a 'legal' (whatever that means internationally) reason to invade. We (America) have, are, and will build offensive weapons to use on whoever we deem a significant threat.

        Would you feel as justified if someone attacked us on those grounds?

        I have zero problem with military action in the national interest (i.e. get them before they get us), but let's not get a nosebleed from that highhorse when the US is by far the most militarily dangerous country in the world.

        (as a side no
        • Regarding point 1... this is NOT a 'legal' (whatever that means internationally) reason to invade.

          Legal means nothing between nations. Law implies a higher power, and there is no such thing (that all the nations will recognize, all the time).

          We (America) have, are, and will build offensive weapons to use on whoever we deem a significant threat.

          Yep. A reasonable person might say that the government of Iraq (and now N korea) were building WMD because we are a very real threat to them. Not because we

          • hell, LIFE looks terrible when compared to the ideal...

            That said, it is our duty as citizens of a 'free' country to keep an eye on the government. I love the relative freedom I have, but that doesn't mean I'll fall in line with the 'party line', y'know?

            Again, if the govt made the honesty assertion that 'we're attacking threats' instead of 'we're spreading democracy', etc. I'd have a lot more respect.

            When heard Rumsfeld (I think) asserting that 'we're not trying to enforce our way of life... we just want
          • Legal means nothing between nations. Law implies a higher power, and there is no such thing (that all the nations will recognize, all the time).

            There is this thing called the UN. And yes, they have laws for this kind of thing. Even if nations aren't abiding them all the time, most nations have agreed to them. By your logic, there is no such thing as law at all, since all the people in a nation aren't abiding all the laws all the time. Enforcement got nothing to do with the laws themselves.

            [Lot's of jing

            • Maybe you should travel some, learn some, think some, before coming to such conclusions.

              I did. That's why I say that so confidently.

      • Re:Why Not? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by baltimoretim (631366)
        Quotha: Do you think that it really doesn't matter what the wogs do to each other? I think that the people there are human

        Thanks for weighing in on that. I was waiting for a patriot to clear that up for me.

        Quothagain: 1) Its government appeared to be trying to build weapons which it could use against us, and would surely have used them against us if it could.

        I don't know about you, but somewhere around the 10th grade I learned about the difference between appearance and reality. If you lack recour

      • by Gorimek (61128) on Monday June 02, 2003 @06:48PM (#6101365) Homepage
        Why would this matter, to you or to anyone else?

        Because GWB and his hawks claimed that they knew Iraq had WMD, and led their nation to war on that ground. It seems clear that was a lie.

        This wasn't any little white lie either, tens of thousands of people were killed as a result of it.
        • To quote someone else whose name I've long since forgotten:

          I would have thought it was obvious Bush was lying when he was talking about WMD's, seeing as how he's a politician and his lips were moving and all.
  • by L. VeGas (580015) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:30PM (#6100751) Homepage Journal
    I hear the parties are outrageous. And the babez? Out of control!
  • by DaRat (678130) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:31PM (#6100759)
    The story probably is propoganda by the South Koreans, *BUT* there is a marked difference between what the miliary gets and what civilians get. The ruling party and the military apparently get an amazingly high percentage of the resources in the country. So, while the rest of the country starves in the dark, the military eats well and probably has the lights on all the time. So, if the military wants to have a hacker school, they probably can afford to devote the resources to it. So what if a few hundred thousand peasants need to shiver in the dark!

    There was a very interesting documentary special on Cinemax last month about a visit to North Korea. Sounds like quite a surreal place.
    • by SirWhoopass (108232) on Monday June 02, 2003 @06:20PM (#6101162)
      While North Korea does put all its emphasis on its military, this doesn't translate to eating well and having the lights on. More like not starving to death as often and having occasional electricity.

      This article [csmonitor.com] tells the story of a defector who had served in the North Korean army. Their barracks didn't have electricity, so they tapped into a nearby electrified railway. They got eggs on only holidays and meat only on Kim's birthday.

      All that, of course, is a huge step above what the rest of the people have to endure. In this article [ucla.edu] a prison camp survivor talks about picking the corn out of cow dung.

  • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:31PM (#6100760) Journal
    you think they are gonna do it from a government compound ? Nah I bet they go to a net cafe in Belgium or somewhere totally unrelated. The ability and knowledge is the hard part, access can be had all over the place...
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:33PM (#6100770)
    I just read "The Armed Forces of North Korea" by Joseph Bermudez and some other books and reports and I don't think it'd be proper to discount the DPRK's abilities when it comes to Special Forces and Unconventional Warfare.

    They've shown a high-level of professionalism when it comes in infiltrating the South and they did pull off the siezure of the USS Pueblo.

    Sure the country's electrical grid is dodgy, but so was Israel and Jordan's until the late 80s. The DPRK military doesn't usually have the same electricity or food supply problems that the rest of the country has.

    I'd not listen to everything the RoK says, but don't discount them as far as the Pentagon might*. The RoK is heavily infiltrated by the DPRK and I'm sure thier "cyberwar" planning would have agents in the South kick it off from that broadband rich area.

    "The KPA (Korean People's Army) is still predominantly an analog and vacuum-tube force," said Alexandre Mansourov, a professor at the Pentagon's Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. "We tend to overestimate the level of information-technology expertise in the North Korean military, and South Korea is especially guilty of this."

    That might be true for the majority of thier systems, but the DPRK has been buying modern SAMs ECM, Navigation and other systems from the FSR and China. Some of the more elite units in thier vast special forces have at least Gen 2-3 Night Vision and GPS recievers.

    * - I've not read either link yet.
    • That reminds me of something I've been meaning to ask. Does North Korea possess any decent natural resources like oil or is it all rice fields? If they have oil I'd suggest we liberate those people immediately from their tyranical overlords.
  • N Korea (Score:4, Funny)

    by L7_ (645377) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:34PM (#6100786)
    All they have to do is hack into the Lineage servers and watch as 75% of South Korean males between the ages of 15 and 40 go into the fetal position from going 'cold turkey'.

    *.*
  • So what if they can barely keep the power grid up or have starving people.... The Soviets faught the Cold War and they had people starving too.

    Let us not forget that North Korea has also had enough time and money to make atomic bombs... that is quite a few food stamps spent on R&D.
  • by coupland (160334) * <dchase@hoBLUEtmail.com minus berry> on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:37PM (#6100813) Journal

    I don't think any other problems North Korea may have has any bearing on whether or not they have high-tech hacking schools. I work for a large multinational and am repsonsible for IT in all areas outside US and Europe and the bushmen with bamboo computers and blow-guns myth is precisely that. Goddam Nigeria buys Pentium 4's, you think North Korea still uses vacuum tubes as the article laughingly asserts? Hell, India is considered one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, have nuclear weapons and a space programme, but have barely 50% literacy [censusindia.net]. North Korea builds 8-lane highways that go virtually unused for future growth, don't think they don't have the resources and bright minds to throw at a military problem they think is pressing. I'm not saying the school is real, I really wouldn't know, but don't subscribe to the myth that everyone else in the world is using Lite-Brite instead of notebooks...

  • Do as I say... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:40PM (#6100835) Journal
    ... and not as I do [wired.com].

    Seems to me this is very similar to the nuclear situation with north korea. At the same time the pentagon is pressing for new research [nytimes.com] in nuclear weopons they're pressing Iran and North Korea to cease they efforts.

  • In a game...
    Koreandude: Hehehe... head-shot
    AmericanPl8r: Dude, you haxor, cheater!
    KoreanDude: You calling me a cheater?
    AmericanPl8r: Yeah. You suck. Cheating hacker.
    KoreanDude: You want to see sum real hackin?
    AmericanPl8r: ?? Brb, I smell something bur..[NO CARRIER]

    Yeah... as if we aren't seeing enough overseas hacking in games, etc as it is... now they're being trained for more serious stuff? Luckily, Canada is already producing a counterforce [slashdot.org]
  • Real Purpose (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Davak (526912) on Monday June 02, 2003 @05:41PM (#6100852) Homepage
    The true purpose of such a North Korea group might actually be to train their gurus with the latest and greatest information... ...to keep tabs on their own people!

    While it may be difficult to get into large systems here in the United States and do a lot of damage, it it much easier to install backdoors and logging programs.

    One large threat to the North Korean government is its own people. Knowing what these people are reading and saying online is a great step in repressing rebellion.

    Davak

  • So they start a cyber war.
    Viruses/Worms run Rampant on Windows machines.
    Win2k Server becomes an easy target
    Microsoft Stock plummets.
    The Geeks inherit the earth.
  • S Korea captain: We get signal - main screen turn on!

    N Korea : Hello, how are you gentlemen. All your base are belong to us.

    -What you say?

    -You have no chance to survive, make your time... ha ha ha

  • The DPRK has software development expertise that is "competent, if not world class," according to Hayes.

    Sure, but they probably shoot the developers in the head execution-style if they don't turn out a certain number of lines of code per hour. I'd say that's an incentive to perform. No North Korean coders wasting time on Slashdot, that's for sure.
  • With Indian and Russian programmers now a commodity (no longer a low cost standard), North Korea will be the next source of discounted talent. If you are familiar with Russian style programmers, you will see the same in the North Koreans.

    There are only two countries currently positioned to take advantage of this new low cost resource... South Korea and China.

    The cheabols (large domestic corporations) in South Korea have been positioned to take advantage of the resources in the North for at least the l
  • How competant do you think these guys will be? In a country like that an expert would be someone who knows what a lan is.
    A good degree from a competant comp-sci school and you could probably do a lot more damage.
  • It's all thoroughly explained in this docu-drama [jamesbond.com], starring current affairs expert Pierce Brosnan.

  • ...I know because I learned all I need to about that country from the last Bond flick *Die Another Day.* If you watch the movie, you'll even discover how Michael Jackson became white...
  • North Korea or Canada [slashdot.org]? I would highly surprised [slashdot.org] if every country with an Apple II didn't have some kind of 'school' going..

    Of course, I use BeOS, so I am immune from all attacks except the dreaded, "Lack of Developers" attack. *Shiver*

  • It's kind of sadly humorous how topical the RTS game C&C:Generals is, with the US fighting a vague arabic terrorist organization with chemical weapons and the Chinese forces which use hackers extensively as electronic warfare as well as money source from stolen bank accounts.

    If there isn't a mod out there to change the Chinese over to the North Koreans, there should be.
  • Try Mr. Lee Jeong-Nam's HackersLab site: learn to hack zone [hackerslab.org]

    I tell you I've learnt so much about (*nix) security from this it's not funny.
    (The site [hackerslab.org] is so comprensive it also support other language options: Korean, Chinese and Japanese)

    ps: See you on level 17 and on the "Hall of Fame" [hackerslab.org]
  • by Britz (170620)
    The most likely foe for North Korea in any military conflict would be South Korea and its ally, the USA. Since South Korea's economy relies heavily on their IT infrastructure it is more than logical to have a credible threat at hand.

    It is also far more difficult to wage war against the US, since North Korea's fleet wouldn't stand a chance against Aircraft carriers. So they would not be able to reach the American coast with enough forces to conquer the territory of the US. Considering the overwhelming force
    • North Korea has warheads with chemical weapons that can be put on artillery that can reach Seoul and missles that can reach Japan. North Korea has all of these in abundance. If war breaks out North Korea could turn South Korea into one huge toxic waste dump. Casualty estimates for an attack like this have been put in the range of millions. After that though, the war would be all asymmetrical, at least until China joins the war on the side of the North Korea. At which point we would have World War III.
  • by incom (570967)
    Even the Pentagon says North Korea's hacker academy is probably just propaganda by South Korea It could also be propaganda by the pentagon in trying to portray NK as not a threat to a jumpy American populous.
  • From the second article:
    And some U.S. defense experts accuse South Korea of hyping the cyber threat posed by its northern neighbor, which they claim is incapable of seriously disrupting the U.S. military.

    Excuse me?? We're talking warships running (or not [slashdot.org]) on NT.
    That's like me trying to convince you that you can't outrun my Hyundai because I've got a turbo-charger in it.

  • by Alsee (515537) on Monday June 02, 2003 @06:27PM (#6101209) Homepage
    Not only does North Korea have trouble keeping their power grid up, they barely even have a power grid.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think this picture [nasa.gov] says more about North Korea than any article ever could. It's a Nasa compsite image of the Earth At Night. It shows man-made light levels. It beautifully visualizes a combination of population density and "development".

    For anyone weak in geography, look at the top and all the way to the right. The bright snake shape is Japan. Go to the bottom-left of the snake and look up-left a smidgen. That bright squarish area is South Korea. It looks like South Korea is an island floating in the sea, but it isn't. North Korea is directly above South Korea. North Korea is a big black hole. If you look carefully you can see a single white dot directly above the top left corner of South Korea. That dot is the capital of North Korea.

    That black hole of a country has the world's THIRD LARGEST ARMY and they want to build NUKES. They are diverting their entire economy (what little there is of it) to supporting that army and building weapons. The North Korean government is incredibly isolationist and paranoid. They claim various international organizations are "conspiring" against them. They make no secret of the fact that they want/plan to "liberate" South Korea.

    North Korea is like some homeless guy who doesn't have any shoes or food because he spends all his money hoarding knives and bullets. His brother happily lives in a nice house with his wife and kids, and this guy wants to invade that house on a "liberation mission". To top it off, this guy actually has a nuclear reactor to build a nukes with.

    Anyway, another facinating thing to look for on the map is the Nile River. It on the top right of Africa. It's a very thin bright line with a kink in it. Each bank of the river is densely populated and well developed, but beyond that it is pitch black and empty.

    -
  • by Walter Wart (181556) on Monday June 02, 2003 @06:52PM (#6101398) Homepage
    It is axiomatic in the security biz that everyone is undersecured. But consider the huge number of attacks we get every day. There are plenty of free-range viruses. There are lots and lots and lots of exploits and attacks. Some of the people creating them are damned bright and very well trained.

    And that's just the hobbyists. We aren't even addressing the ones who do it for money.

    So why hasn't computing crashed and burned forever under the weight of all of these? It's because, in our sloppy suboptimal way, we have learned to respond. The procedures for identifying a new attack or vulnerability aren't great. But they are good enough. Our collective immune system responds.

    If North Korea is training 100 l33t hax0rs a year it's a drop in the slop bucket of pros and amateurs already out there doing harm.

    If the numbers aren't that impressive, then how about the kinds of attacks they can do? My suspicion is that it isn't nearly as bad as it seems at first glance. This is North Korea we are talking about. There aren't that many people who have grown up living and breathing OS source code. Of the few really skilled people they have many (most? all?) are probably needed in other capacities making them unavailable to write the next Big Worm.

    And how good will they be? Creativity, the free play of ideas, and the ability to see things from a different perspective - all of which are important to being a really good code monkey let alone a world class security breaker - are capital crimes in North Korea. Praising the Great Leader and lock-step conformity don't cut it when you are trying to come up with the unexpected and the truly creative.

    So even if it's not pure propaganda from Seoul I'm not all that worried.
  • by supz (77173) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @02:46AM (#6103756) Homepage
    I know this will be modded down, but I feel I must comment on this being a bad thing, as they will only use it to write more cheats and wall hacks for counter-strike, and ruin the game play for the rest of us. Down with those communists!
  • by TygerFish (176957) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @07:21AM (#6104536)

    In 1996, North Korea sent well-trained and well-armed infiltration agents into South Korea on an information-gathering mission and if it hadn't been for one sharp-eyed cabdriver, we might never have known that it had even happened.

    With leadership resembling a Stalinist 'cult of personality' possessing total information control at its disposal, the North Korean government can create and has created effective personel resources in areas pertaining to espionage and infiltration. This well-documented fact makes the idea of North Korea's running a military 'cyberacademy' a lot more credible than the Iraq-obsessed U.S. Government which has a stake in playing down a North Korean threat would have you believe.

    Two incidents show go far to prove this:

    The first is the aforementioned infiltration of Nouth Korean reconnaisance troops by submarine.

    After the infiltrator's accidental discovery, they were hunted down by south Korean Military and police units. After a series of bloody firefights, rather than face capture some of the infiltrators and submarine crew were shot to death by their own officers.

    Here is a link to the story. http://www.koreascope.org/english/sub/2/nk10_7.htm [koreascope.org]

    The second is the discovery after thirty years, that North Korea sent agents into Japan to kidnap individuals to serve as tutors in masquerading as Japanese nationals for the North Korean intelligence services. These people, among others, were flown to Japan for a brief reunion after decades of captivity during which their families had long since given them up for dead.

    North Korea may have a very low GNP by western standards, but it is an industrialized nation and the ability of its government to divert resources from one segment of society to another certainly lends strong credence to the threat described in the article.

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