A Foreign Policy report suggests the United States is currently “laying the groundwork” for cyber warfare against North Korea as an alternative method of neutralizing the rogue communist regime.
Foreign Policy magazine’s Jenna McLaughlin spoke to six U.S. intelligence officers who revealed that, while the military prepares for a potential conflict with North Korea, authorities are also developing digital infrastructure designed to target Pyongyang.
“The U.S. government for the past six months has covertly begun laying the groundwork for possible cyber attacks on North Korea in countries including South Korea and Japan,” the magazine wrote.
“This process involves installing fiber cables as bridges into the region and setting up remote bases and listening posts, where hackers may attempt to gain access to a North Korean Internet that’s largely walled off from external connections,” it continued.
The article also detailed how national security officials are reportedly switching the focus from current intelligent operations towards the North Korean threat, which has significantly escalated over the past year amid repeated threats of nuclear war.
Some of this investment reportedly includes developing “signals intelligence, overhead imagery, geospatial intelligence, and other technical capabilities,” while intelligence officials serving in less threatening parts of the world will be relocated.
“The national technical focus is being switched,” the article quotes one intelligence official as saying. “If you’re an Africa analyst, you’re f*****.”
Experts suggest that the U.S. could initiate a cyber war by targeting North Korea’s cryptocurrency reserves, following reports that they successfully hacked exchanges from South Korea last month in a bid to access hard currency.
North Korea itself is believed to have been responsible for multiple cyber attacks. Last May, cybersecurity experts provided evidence that North Korea was behind a global “ransomware” attack that took hostage computers and servers around the world.
In 2014, the regime was also accused of conducting a cyber attack on Sony Entertainment after the release of the action comedy film The Interview which told the story of two journalists sent to North Korea to assassinate dictator Kim Jong-un.
President Donald Trump’s homeland security advisor Thomas Bossert recently told reporters that there is not “a lot of room left here to apply pressure” against the regime as it inches closer to completing its nuclear arsenal.
“The Administration has made North Korea a top priority, and the CIA established its Korea Mission Center to harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency to address the threat posed by Kim Jong Un and his regime,” CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu told the magazine. “We shift resources as appropriate to tackle our most pressing challenges.”