North Korea as a Cyber Threat

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North Korea’s army of 6,000 hackers have been implicated in a multimillion dollar bank heist, the theft of intelligence from finance and defense firms, and the infiltration of infrastructure networks—all in the first six months of 2016. This only adds to the numerous attacks against South Korea – one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to cyber attacks – and U.S. companies in previous years.

Throughout its history, North Korea has viewed itself as a vulnerable nation pitted against stronger adversaries. In order to confront its enemies, with the U.S. being first and foremost among them, North Korea has always pursued asymmetric strategies. Cyber warfare is the latest example of this trend, and recent evidence suggests North Korea is redoubling its commitment to its cyber capabilities. South Korean military estimates suggest that North Korea has doubled its cyber personnel from 3,000 to 6,000 since 2013. While Pyongyang may face an insurmountable disparity in conventional forces, its recent cyber advances prove it has found an area of asymmetric advantage to complement its nuclear deterrent.

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