U.S. issues alert against N. Korea's 'Hidden Cobra' cyber attacks


The U.S. government issued a rare alert Tuesday on a string of illegal cyber operations and attacks over the past eight years on the reclusive North Korean regime.

North Korea is responsible for cyberattacks dating back to 2009, and more are planned, according to the United States government.

A hacker group known as Hidden Cobra, "cyber actors of the North Korean government", have attacked media, aerospace, and financial sectors, as well as infrastructure, in the USA and elsewhere, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security said in a joint warning, according to Reuters.

Symantec Corp and Kaspersky Labs reported last month that it is "highly likely" the group was behind the WannaCry Ransomware attacks that infected over 300,000 computers worldwide.

It's not surprising to see that North Korea is using DDoS attacks which can cripple websites and are one of the most common uses for botnets as we've noted in the Imperva Incapsula 2016 Bot Traffic Report.

"It is ridiculous. Whenever something odd happens, it is the stereotype way of the United States and the hostile forces that kick off noisy anti-DPRK campaign", said Kim In Ryong, deputy North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, last month.

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This latest revelation will only further strain North Korea's relationship with the U.S., as well as with the rest of the world, as the country continues to become increasingly aggressive with its cyber espionage tactics.

The hacks include cyber espionage at South Korean finance, energy and transportation firms that appears to be reconnaissance ahead of other attacks that would be disruptive or destructive, he said.

Typically, Hidden Cobra goes after older versions of Windows that aren't supported, but the group has been known to target vulnerabilities in the Adobe Flash player as well. They did say, though, that Hidden Cobra is capable of introducing malware, keystroke logging, using remote access tools and employing denial of service attacks.

The alert arrived on the same day that North Korea released an American university student who had been held captive by Pyongyang for 17 months.

In 2014, North Korea was also accused of the hack of Sony Pictures for its comedy "The Interview", which depicts the slow-motion assassination of its leader Kim Jong-un. On Tuesday, the US blamed North Korea for a recent hacking spree and warned of more attacks.

US officials are distributing internet addresses to help networks defend against any attacks.