North Korea Hackers Targeting U.S. ‘Critical Infrastructure’

A group of North Korean hackers is believed to be actively targeting U.S. businesses and “critical infrastructure,” a report released this week by cybersecurity firm McAfee claims, CNN writes.

According to the firm, North Korean hackers have tried to infiltrate nearly 80 businesses in critical sectors like finance, telecommunications, energy and defense around the world. Governments themselves were also targeted, McAfee said.

The hacking is believed to have continued during President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The largest number of recent attacks primarily target Germany, Turkey and the United Kingdom as well as the United States, McAfee said.

Pyongyang is believed to operate some of the most sophisticated hacking cells in the world, though the North Korean government has long denied any wrongdoing. McAffee said it partnered with a “government entity” in its investigation, though it declined to reveal which government it worked with.

The company said the hacking operation shared “numerous technical links” to the Lazarus Group, North Korean hackers believed to have been behind bank heists around the world, CNN reported.

“McAfee believes that such digital forensic evidence must be complemented by traditional evidence from law enforcement and government agencies to make such assertions,” Raj Samani, McAfee’s chief scientist, told CNN.

“That said, McAfee is obligated to report technical similarities between attacks and campaigns to provide its customers cyber threat intelligence they can use to protect themselves from current and future attacks,” Samani added.

U.S. officials said last week that Washington believes the North Korean government has stepped up cyberattacks targeting financial institutions in a desperate bid to acquire cash, as international sanctions levied against Pyongyang have squeezed its economy.

Kim and Trump’s meeting in Hanoi ended abruptly without a deal, as the two sides could not agree to a detailed plan exchanging sanctions relief for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, CNN notes.

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