US Tried but Failed to Hack North Korean Nuclear Program via Stuxnet Virus, Reuters

America tried to install a version of the computer worm named Stuxnet to hack North Korea’s nuclear missiles program 5 years ago, however, eventually failed. The secret failed cyber attack has been revealed by folks familiar with the secret US campaign.

According to a fresh report, Stuxnet (the private digital weapon) was created and installed by the Israel and United States to hit Iranian nuclear programs. The computer virus, which was found in 2010, the Americans had a sister part of PC worm that was developed to knock out North Korea’s nuclear centrifuges, too.

The worm was developed to activate when it came through Korean language configurations on affected computers, as per Reuters statement, being provided by an anonymous informer. The plan fizzled, but, the officials behind it turned out to be unsuccessful to attack the computers running Pyongyang’s atomic weapons program.

The hackers hit barriers, just like the “utter secrecy” inside the solitary kingdom and “the separation of its infrastructures networks,” as stated by Reuters  – referring to another anonymous source. Without a doubt, North Korea is one of the best remotely advanced nations on the globe.

Joseph Menn, Reuter’s reporter writes, “The United States has launched many cyber espionage campaigns. But North Korea is only the second country, after Iran, that the NSA is now known to have targeted with software designed to destroy equipment.”

North Korea’s infrastructures systems are notoriously separated and this is, in various ways, a hurdle when it comes to attacking them. Although North Korea maybe capable to occupy in its private cyberattacks, just like the supposed Sony attack, it isn’t as dangerous to them:

NSA Director Keith Alexander said North Korea’s strict limitations on Internet access and human travel make it one of a few nations “who can race out and do damage with relative impunity” since reprisals in cyberspace are so challenging.

When asked about Stuxnet, Alexander said he could not comment on any offensive actions taken during his time at the spy agency.

North Korean and Iranian atomic programs are same – both countries are using P-2 filters, such as—so National Security Agency (NSA) developers wouldn’t have required to alter the malware desperately to have same effect on any among both country’s atomic system. In Iran, the worm (Stuxnet) was reportedly accountable for destroying almost 1/5 of Iran’s programs.

Joseph Menn says:

As for how Stuxnet got there, a leading theory is that it was deposited by a sophisticated espionage program developed by a team closely allied to Stuxnet’s authors, dubbed the Equation Group by researchers at Kaspersky Lab.

The U.S. effort got that far in North Korea as well. Though no versions of Stuxnet have been reported as being discovered in local computers, Kaspersky Lab analyst Costin Raiu said that a piece of software related to Stuxnet had turned up in North Korea.

He concludes his report with quoting a statement from an adviser to American government, Jim Lewis, who stated that a cyberattack “isn’t something you can issue and be assured about the consequences.”

Top/Featured Image: By petersnoopy / Flickr

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