South Korean lawmaker says North Korean hackers attacked nuclear research institute

Yonhap News Agency reported on June 18 that Ha Tae-kyung, a member of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee and member of the National Power Party, said at a press conference that day that the South Korean Institute of Atomic Energy was recently attacked by North Korean hackers.

According to the information disclosed by Ha Tae-kyung, on the 14th of last month, 13 unapproved external IP addresses invaded the intranet of the Korea Institute of Atomic Energy. After tracing the source of these IPs through the North Korean cyber attack research organization “IssueMakersLab”, it was found that some IP addresses were connected to the server of the hacker organization “Kimsuky” suspected of having the background of the North Korean Army Reconnaissance General Bureau.

Ha Tae-kyung said some IP addresses were also stolen from the email username of Moon Jung-in, a former special assistant to the South Korean President for Unification Foreign Affairs and Security. This is circumstantial evidence related to the so-called “North Korea and the hacking of Moon Jung-in’s emails in 2018”, and it is conclusive evidence that the case is the work of a North Korean hacking group. He said that if South Korea’s national core technology is leaked by North Korea, it may be as serious as the 2016 incident of the Ministry of Defense’s intranet being breached by hackers.

The Korea Institute of Atomic Energy has previously responded to questions from Ha Tae-kyung and has never been hacked. Ha Tae-kyung condemned the academy for trying to conceal the incident, emphasizing that the South Korean government must find out the truth. The Atomic Energy Research Institute pointed out that it is a fact that the intranet was hacked, but whether this was done by North Korea is under investigation.

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