National Security

North Korean Hackers Deploy New Cyber Espionage Tools

Cyber researchers recently uncovered North Korean hackers deploying brand-new malware with some unique capabilities.

According to reports, a group of state-sponsored North Korean hackers has developed and deployed a new strain of malware that harvests information from Bluetooth devices. Discovered by Kaspersky Lab, this malware is usually deployed on victims’ computers as a second-stage payload in already active infections.

Researchers who identified the use of this unique cyber-spying tool say that it is the most recent production of the shadowy North Korean hacker group ScarCruft. Experts say that the malware has the group’s MO written all over it.

Cyberattacks against its political enemies has long been a favorite of North Korea. In recent years, the state-backed campaigns targeting Bitcoin companies have garnered quite a bit of attention. But to pile all North Korean hacking groups into one bag would be a mistake. There is a wide spectrum of North Korea-based cyber-criminal gangs active today. Some are focused on stealing money from banks. Some target crypto-currency exchanges. Others are focused on cyber-espionage operations. ScarCruft is one such organization. The fact that the group has been around for only a few years and is still busy producing sophisticated malware is a clear indication that ScarCruft continues to evolve. Several hacks linked to the new malicious program have already been identified in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

In addition to its consequences for global IT security, the latest ScarCruft mischief will also likely have diplomatic repercussions. For at least the past two months, many events have indicated the American administration taking a harder stance on North Korea—perhaps even signaling a change of heart for President Trump. If the North Koreans have any real interest in moving forward in negotiations, loosing the favor of the president should be seen as a major loss. More aggression on the part of Pyongyang will only further diminish prospects of success for North Korean reconciliation.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Samuel Siskind

Samuel Siskind studied intelligence research at the American Military University in West Virginia. He served as a squad commander in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Corp of Combat Engineers, in the Corps' ground battalions and later in its Intelligence Wing at regional and divisional stations. For the past five years, Samuel has worked as a consultant and researcher on physical and information security issues for private and governmental institutions, in the US, Africa, India, and Israel. He currently lives in Jerusalem.

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