Published On: Thu, Oct 31st, 2019

North Korean elite hacking unit launch surprise attack on India’s nuclear weapons systems | World | News


Officials said Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant’s network had been hit by a dangerous strain of malware developed by the Lazarus Group, Pyongyang’s elite state-sponsored hacking unit. The discovery came just days after the plant, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, suffered an unexpected shutdown of one of its reactors.

Bosses initially denied hackers were to blame and rejected suggestions a cyber-attack could have been behind the outage.

But the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) later confirmed malware had been detected in its systems.

A spokesman said the malware only infected the plant’s administrative network and had not breached security in its critical internal network, the one used to control the power plant’s nuclear reactors.

Cyber-security experts said the Lazarus Group and other North Korean hacker units had rarely hit targets in the energy and industrial sector and when they did has usually sought intellectual property rather than sabotage.

Most of North Korea’s offensive hacking efforts have been focused on attaining insight into diplomatic relations, tracking former citizens who had defected or hacking banks and cryptocurrency exchanges to illegally gather funds to bankroll its weapons and missile programs.

Analysts identified the malware uses in the NPCIL attack as DTrack – a virus commonly used by the Lazarus Group.

JUST IN: North Korea fires two missiles towards Japan – official reports

Cyber-security specialist Kaspersky said DTrack is used by hackers to attack financial and research centres in India and its earlier version ATMDtrack was designed to hack ATMs.

Kaspersky said: “The malware was designed to be planted on the victim’s ATMs, where it could read and store the data of cards that were inserted into the machines.”

A later version of the malware was used to attack the banking system in South Korea as well as for the infamous WannaCry ransom worm attacks across the globe and brought NHS systems in the UK to standstill.

She said: “They would identify kids with promise in maths, or science and technology in middle school, send them to one or two particular middle schools, that filter into one or two universities.”

Ms Moriuchi believes Kim Il-sung University and Kim Chaek University of Technology, both in Pyongyang, trained hackers on behalf of the government.

A hand-picked group of hackers would then be sent to hone their skills in Shenyang, one-hour train ride from Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom.



Source link

Most Popular News