North Korea Cyberattack Reportedly Poses Bigger Risk Than Nuclear War

( A lot of attention around North Korea surrounds its nuclear program. But in recent months, a new threat from the country has emerged — hackers.
Reports have surfaced that hackers from North Korea stole billions of dollars from the U.S. They’ve hacked into a new nuclear power plant in India to steal designs from them. They’ve even paralyzed the operations of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
Officials from both Japan and the United States are meeting this week as part of discussions surrounding security in the region, a lot of people are saying that the biggest threat North Korea poses to the world is through digital attacks, rather than nuclear ones.
Simon Choi founded a non-profit called IssueMakersLab, which works to track and infiltrate hacker groups from North Korea. He recently said:
“When comparing hackers to missiles, I definitely think that these guys are a bigger threat. They’re ready to use [missiles], but they haven’t done it yet. But hacking, we see it happen every day, all around us.”
On multiple occasions, Choi’s group has followed many North Korean hacker groups. Some of them are linked to the country’s intelligence services, and some are linked to its army.
In recent years, they’re actions are becoming much more prominent, and they are ramping up efforts as they become better at what they do. As Choi said:
“They have been growing immensely recently. In the past, they used the same techniques that China and the United States have, based on open-source information. But recently, they’ve been showing progress in finding the weakness of the targets.”
A recent North Korean hack broke into Google. They found a vulnerability in their system and exploited it before the company was able to discover and then fix the issue.
Members of the Lazarus Group, which is one of the most well-known state-backed hacker groups from North Korea, posed as security researchers and then infected various users’ Chrome web browsers. Choi said:
“When it comes to that, finding vulnerabilities, [North Korea] can be one of the top three in the world.”
Choi isn’t alone in his opinions, either. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served under Donald Trump, said North Korea was a bigger threat than even Russia in terms of cyberattacks.
And Bruce Klinger, who is a former Korea deputy division chief at the CIA and who works now with the Heritage Foundation, said:
“Experts were initially dismissive of North Korea’s cyber capabilities, as they had been of the regime’s nuclear and missile programs. Pyongyang developed advanced cyberwarfare prowess surpassed by only a few nations. The regime improved its cyber programs to create a robust and global array of disruptive military, financial and espionage capabilities.”
Cyberattacks, of course, don’t do nearly the physical damage that missiles and other nuclear weapons can. But cyberattacks can happen at any time, without any warning.
In addition, they’re easier to pull off in secret, and to deploy in multiple parts of the world at the same time.