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[] North Korea hacking ability matches that of CIA, analyst says

N.K. hacking ability matches that of CIA, analyst says

By Lee Sun-young
(milaya -!
- heraldm -

North Korea has hundreds of well-trained cyber soldiers and its
intelligence warfare capabilities are believed to have reached the
level of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a South Korean arms
expert said yesterday.

Computers are a rarity and Internet access is almost nonexistent for
most people in the reclusive country, but Byun Jae-jung, researcher at
a state-run Agency for Defense Development, believes that "North Korea
is capable of cyber attacks on both the command and control system of
the U.S. Pacific Command and the critical infrastructures of the U.S.
mainland, such as electric power."

"Our electronic warfare simulation indicates that North Korea's
capability has reached a substantial level, unlike what is generally
known to the outside world," Byun told the Defense Information
Security Conference 2005 held yesterday at Korea University in Seoul.
The conference is organized annually by the Defense Security Command
and the Korea Information Security Agency. He said the simulation was
based on reliable information from the DSC, but refused to give any

According to him, the communist country since 1981 has been training
about 100 hackers through an elite electronic warfare academy known as
Mirim College and now operates a crack contingent of 500 or 600 cyber
soldiers. The academy is believed to have changed its name from Mirim
to Kim Il Military Academy and then to Pyongyang College.

The North Korean hackers use Web servers from various countries,
including the United States, to gather military information on South
Korea, the United States and others and erode the online defense
command network, he added.

"The South Korean government spends only 2.5 percent of its
information-related budget on information protection while the United
States invests 8.8 percent," Byun said.

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