The United States on Tuesday accused North Korea of responsibility for a global ransomware attack that locked down more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries earlier this year.The U.S. now has enough evidence to support its assertion that Pyongyang was behind the WannaCry attack in May, Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert told reporters at a White House press briefing.Bossert made the same accusation in an op-ed published Monday in The Wall Street Journal.If the United States has new evidence linking North Korea to WannaCry, however, it hasn't released any of it to the public, which could pose problems."Accurate attribution for cyberattacks is almost always a difficult task, and it's doubly so when the evidence leading to the conclusion can't be shared," noted Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire."If we're going to have national security organizations delivering these types of conclusions on attribution to the public, we need to find a way to … [Read more...] about US Fingers North Korea for WannaCry Epidemic
North korea launch
Whenever there’s talk of North Korea launching something, governments in the region usually hold emergency meetings and consider a plan of action. However, the secretive state’s latest launch needn’t cause too much concern, as this time around it’s of a tablet rather than a weapon of mass destruction.A report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday claimed that the new tablet was designed and manufactured in North Korea.According to KCNA’s report, which was picked up on by Martyn Williams of the North Korea Tech blog, the new device, called ‘Achim’ (meaning ‘morning’), comes loaded with a variety of teaching materials, dictionaries and scientific data. It’s probably headed straight for schools and colleges, with most people in the desperately poor nation unable to afford a luxury item like a tablet.Unfortunately there are no details of its specifications and few photos showing it off. What we do … [Read more...] about North Korea unveils new tablet, probably not an iPad killer
The fallout from the devastating Sony Pictures hack continues to rumble on through the weekend. On Friday the FBI pointed the finger specifically at North Korea as being behind the attack, something the North Korean authorities have vehemently denied. As Reuters reports, government officials have described the claims as “groundless slander,” suggesting that the U.S. and North Korea launch a joint investigation into the incident.That’s something that the White House is unlikely to consider, and Mark Stroh, a spokesman for the National Security Council, had this to say yesterday: “The government of North Korea has a long history of denying responsibility for destructive and provocative actions. If the North Korean government wants to help, they can admit their culpability and compensate Sony for the damages this attack caused.”The war of words continued through Sunday as CNN broadcast an interview with President Obama. He described the hacking as a … [Read more...] about North Korea calls Sony hack claims ‘groundless slander,’ wants investigation
Informatics The North launched its first and only satellite in 2012. The claim that it is working on another, made in an interview last week with an AP Television crew in Pyongyang, comes amid a flurry of attention to the country's fledgling space agency, including a visit by leader Kim Jong Un to a new satellite control center that was repeatedly broadcast on North Korean TV early last month."We are developing a more advanced Earth observation satellite and when it's complete, before launching it, we will inform international organizations and other countries," Paek Chang Ho, vice director of the scientific research and development department of the North's space agency, said in the interview.Paek did not provide further details of what the satellite will do, how close it is to completion, when development began or when the next launch might be.Speculation the North may be planning a rocket launch to mark the 70th anniversary this October of the ruling Korean Workers Party heated up … [Read more...] about North Korea Developing New Satellite, Defends Space Program
Upwards of 1.2 million people have used pirate sites to download Brad Pitt's World War II drama Fury, scheduled for release Dec. 25, according to Variety.That was one of five films hackers leaked onto the Web following an attack on Sony Pictures' network last week.The others are Annie, Still Alice, Mr. Turner and To Write Love on Her Arms.Sony has called in the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.Coincidentally -- or perhaps not -- the FBI on Monday warned U.S. businesses that hackers recently penetrated several companies' networks with a particularly damaging form of malware, according to a Reuters report.Sony apparently was neither identified nor excluded as one of the businesses victimized by the malware, but speculation is rife that the hack attack on the company and the FBI's warning are linked.Among other capabilities, the malware can override hard drives, shutting down and permanently disabling computers and rendering files inaccessible, the FBI reportedly said in its alert. … [Read more...] about Did North Korea Get the Last Laugh Against Sony?
North Korea is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons designed to disable enemy electronics, according to South Korea's National Intelligence Service.North Korea reportedly purchased EMP technology from Russia and is now in the process of replicating it.Some American politicians, including Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rep. Trent Franks, have issued dire warnings about EMP technology. Gingrich went so far as to claim that an EMP attack "could be the kind of catastrophe that ends civilization, and that's not an exaggeration." In 2011, Franks helped launch the Congressional EMP Caucus.[Sources:Slate;AFP]Samsung recruitment rounds, which include exams and interviews designed to determine the best potential employees, are a pressure-packed, excitement-filled event in South Korea.Reuters ran a feature on the exams, quoting students who are themselves dreaming of landing jobs at Samsung.Samsung will hire more than 5,000 young people -- from more than 100,000 applications -- during its … [Read more...] about TECH TREK North Korea Gets Its Hands on Electromagnetic Pulse Weaponry
The U.S. State Department gave a measured but clear rebuke of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's upcoming trip to North Korea.News broke this week that Schmidt will join former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on a humanitarian mission to the impoverished nation. The itinerary and exact purpose of the trip has not been revealed, but enough is known for the State Department to give a verbal roll of the eyes."We don't think the timing of this is particularly helpful," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, according to the BBC. She went on to say that both Schmidt and Richardson were "well aware" of the government's stance on their trip.As could be expected in a country staunchly opposed to free speech, Internet use in North Korea is stifled. The nation has an Intranet, but it doesn't allow citizens to access the World Wide Web at large -- and certainly doesn't allow for unencumbered Google searches.Richardson has been involved in ad-hoc negotiations with North Korea for two … [Read more...] about TECH TREK State Dept. in a Snit Over Schmidt’s North Korea Trip
The visit to North Korea this week by a team led by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has stirred up controversy.The U.S. State Department has criticized the move, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has described Richardson and Schmidt as "useful idiots".McCain's statement has drawn fire from readers of an article on the visit published in the Independent.Meanwhile, in a move that may further inflame the U.S. government, North Korea has claimed that the delegation paid tribute to Pyongyang's late leaders, Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, the Telegraph reported.There are reportedly nine people in the group. They apparently include Richardson's daughter, Sophie, and Jared Cohen, director of the Google Ideas think tank.The visit is not official but a private humanitarian mission, Richardson and Schmidt have said.It's been reported that Schmidt's interested in the social aspects of the North Korean economy.Both Richardson and Schmidt were well aware of U.S. … [Read more...] about Schmidt’s Visit May Help Open Up North Korea
North Korea is modernizing its technologies -- as only North Korea can.Foreigners are now able to bring their mobile phones into the country, with the caveat that they must purchase North Korean SIM cards upon arrival.Now Koryolink, a North Korean mobile phone provider, plans to launch a 3G data service -- but only foreigners can use it.More than one million North Koreans use mobile phones, but not a onewill be able to use the new 3G network, according to the BBC.Egyptian telecommunications firm Orascom, a partner of Koryolink, launched a 3G phone network in North Korea in 2008, but it can only be used for phone calls. (International calls, including to South Korea, are banned, the BBC reported.)North Korea's moves to digitize itself, small as they may be, come on the heels of a visit from Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who visited the country in early January with former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. After leaving, Schmidt wrote on Google+ that North Korea's … [Read more...] about TECH TREK North Korea Widens 3G Coverage – for Outsiders Only
When we have a hostile country regularly lobbing missiles into the ocean with the stated objective of transforming a U.S. state into a radioactive cloud, we have a problem. One "oops" and we could suddenly become a 49-state nation again -- and that is only if we forget the issues with fallout and the potential for a nuclear winter (granted, that could be good news for the global warming folks).However, the approaches to cutting the legs out from under North Korea largely have been in-the-box thinking: economic sanctions that require China's cooperation (and aren't working); military and assassination options that would trigger retaliation that likely would result in a lot of us glowing at night; and revolution efforts that have little or no chance of succeeding.Still, there are companies that have been working on technologies that effectively could contain North Korea's missiles and turn their leader into more of a vocal than a physical problem. Since I'm on the West Coast and … [Read more...] about OPINION Could Tech Nerf North Korea?