On Security

North Korea's Hackers Play the Long Game

Ben West
Global Security Analyst, Stratfor
Sep 18, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert speaks about the WannaCry virus, which was tied to North Korea, during a briefing at the White House in Washington on Dec. 19, 2017.

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert speaks about the WannaCry virus, which was tied to North Korea, during a briefing at the White House in Washington on Dec. 19, 2017. Pyongyang is generally meticulous in its planning for cyberattacks.

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

In July, we noted that the Islamic republic has been playing the numbers game in the world of cyberattacks, using relatively rudimentary tactics in a shotgun approach that targets thousands of individuals in the hopes that a small percentage become victims. Now, the recent release of a U.S. Department of Justice criminal complaint depicts a similar, yet very different, threat from North Korea over the past four years. In addition to laying out in technical details why North Korea was the mostly likely perpetrator of attacks on Sony Pictures in 2014, Bangladesh Bank in 2016, the 2016-2017 WannaCry attacks and dozens of other lower-profile attacks in between, the complaint revealed many new insights into how North Koreans allegedly crafted their operations to conduct those attacks. The alleged operations by both North Korea and Iran shared much in terms of targeting and tactics, but one key difference provides insight into how...

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