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Experts Concerned of North Korea’s Growing Cyberattack Capabilities


One of the most underestimated security threats coming out of North Korea is its cyberattack capabilities. Hackers, many assume, can’t kill people. But they can.

Cyberattackers could take control of a water treatment plant and change the chemical mixture to make it toxic, or they could penetrate the computer systems of a nuclear power plant to cause major malfunctions. In recent years, such cyberattacks have been attempted in many parts of the world, and some have succeeded, resulting in deaths or injuries indirectly.

A group of experts warn that the North could make use of such attacks if war were to break out on the Korean Peninsula, in a RAND Corporation report titled, “Characterizing the Risks of North Korean Chemical and Biological Weapons, Electromagnetic Pulse, and Cyber Threats.”

“The infrastructure in South Korea seems to be very vulnerable to the North’s cyberattacks. We have seen some cases in the banking systems … But what about other infrastructure like water supply or electricity? That would cause chaos,” Choi Kang, president of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and one of the co-authors of the collaborative report written with policy think tank RAND Corporation, said at a press conference at the institute in Seoul, Tuesday.

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