Thousands of military hackers in North Korea could launch cyber attacks that could “kill people and destroy cities”, a defector has warned.
Professor Kim Heung-Kwang saw his brightest computing students picked for Bureau 121 to become “cyber warriors” for Kim Jong-un before he fled the country in 2004.
“The size of the cyber-attack agency has increased significantly, and now has approximately 6,000 people,” he told BBC Click.
“The reason North Korea has been harassing other countries is to demonstrate that North Korea has cyber war capacity.
“Their cyber-attacks could have similar impacts as military attacks, killing people and destroying cities.”
Professor Kim, who taught at Hamheung Computer Technology University, believes hackers are building malware based on the “Stuxnet” attack on Iranian nuclear centrifuges, which was attributed to the US and Israel.
Although the threat is theoretical, up to 20 per cent of North Korea’s military budget is believed to go into online operations.
The government dismissed accusations that it was behind last year’s Sony Pictures hack as “groundless slander” but praised the attack as a “righteous deed”.