Feeds

South Korea green lights Stuxnet-like code weapons to nark NORKS

Nuke it from cyberspace, it's the only way to be sure

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The South Korean government has approved plans to develop a Stuxnet-like virus to disrupt Pyongyang’s missile and atomic capabilities, according to local reports.

The plans are part of a new defence ministry strategy designed to enhance Seoul’s offensive capabilities, in a bid to counter a North Korea which has been increasingly aggressive online of late.

First up, the ministry aims in May to install a "Cyber Defence Department" which will oversee all operations.

"The new department will oversee the defensive cyber-warfare missions when major networks are hit by hacking attacks, while carrying out orders of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs," an anonymous ministry official told Yonhap.

The second phase of the plan involves the development of “tools” to be used as part of “comprehensive cyber-warfare missions” aimed at disrupting key weapons and atomic facilities north of the border. It’s an open secret that Pyongyang is actively attempting to create nuclear weapons and as Stuxnet helped someone to disrupt similar efforts in Iran, the lure of code as a weapon has obvious appeal.

South Korea also plans to beef up its “psychological warfare” capabilities aimed at countering Pyongyang’s online propaganda and smear tactics.

However, the defence ministry has been criticised in the past after operatives were accused of posting overtly political content during the presidential election of 2012.

Responding to these concerns, the ministry is apparently planning to set up a committee to review any such operations prior to their approval as well as a whistleblower initiative to allow operatives to report any malpractice.

Seoul has a right to be paranoid about what’s going on over the border. Defence minister Kim Kwan-jin said last year that Pyongyang now has as many as 3,000 highly trained hackers tasked with stealing military secrets and disrupting systems.

It’s also believed that major attacks on South Korean systems last year by the Kim Jong-un regime caused 800bn won’s (£470m) worth of damage. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.