Feeds

NORKS build TROLL ARMY to tear down S Korean surfers

No we're not too hungry to concentrate on posting propaganda...

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

North Korea has tasked 200 agents with the job of posting negative comments online, often using stolen online identities, in a bid to undermine the morale of their neighbours in the South.

The brigade of NORK trolls is part of a brigade of 3,000 cyber warriors and hackers that make up the Reconnaissance General Bureau information warfare force, according to the Police Policy Institute.

Ryu Dong-ryul of the Police Policy Institute said, "The North has established a team of online trolls at the United Front Department and the Reconnaissance General Bureau."

About 200 agents post derogatory comments on South Korean portals using assumed identities stolen from South Koreans, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reports.

The South Korean thinktank reckons other members of the NORK cyber army are building malware and launching hacker attacks while the trolls are posting comments with links to N Korea propaganda sites designed to sway public opinion in favour of Pyongyang.

North Korean agents posted more than 27,000 propaganda messages designed to turn people against the South during 2011 alone, the institute estimates. In 2012 this figure increased and more than 41,000 messages were posted, delegates at a seminar in Seoul earlier this week were told. Objectives of the campaign include getting unblock access to pro-North Korean sites for surfers visiting from the South.

North Korea is the prime suspect in destructive malware attacks against the computer networks of banks and TV stations earlier this year, the latest in a series of attacks. Cyber assaults included attempts to knock targeted sites offline have been going on within the Korean peninsular for some years. Ordinary North Korean citizens have only heavily regulated access to government controlled websites through local cybercafes.

The hermit kingdom does maintain various portals and propaganda outlets, some of which are hosted in China, such as Uriminzokkiri.

Using agents of the state in a propaganda offensive fought on social media sites and consumer portals is an unusual tactic but it's not restricted to North Korea. As previously reported, cadres of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards include similar digital propaganda units.

Lim Jong-in of Korea University estimates 30,000 North Koreans are engaged in cyber and psychological warfare against South Korea, a group swelled every year by another 300 personnel "trained in the dark arts", as Chosun Ilbo catchily describes it.

This hoard of cyber-ninja Death Eaters are arrayed against a much smaller South Korean force that is growing by only 30 personnel a year. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.