Tag Archives: North Korea

North Korea Behind WannaCry Attack

Not surprising, but outrageous nonetheless.

North Korea was behind the massive “WannaCry” cyberattack in May that spread around the world costing billions of dollars, White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Monday.

In the article, entitled, “It’s Official: North Korea Is Behind WannaCry,” Bossert wrote that the Hermit Kingdom was the main culprit behind the May 2017 global cyberattack in which computers running Windows were targeted. During the infamous attack, data were encrypted and ransom payment, in the form of bitcoin, was demanded of users if they wanted their data back.

“Cybersecurity isn’t easy, but simple principles still apply. Accountability is one, cooperation another,” Bossert’s op-ed read. “They are the cornerstones of security and resilience in any society. In furtherance of both, and after careful investigation, the U.S. today publicly attributes the massive ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack to North Korea.”

Tillerson Ready to Talk to North Korea

This is a change.

Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US is ready to talk with North Korea without preconditions.

“We’ve said from the diplomatic side, we’re ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk,” Tillerson said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on Tuesday, in what amounted to a direct public invitation for North Korea to put aside an escalating cycle of tests and taunts and engage in diplomacy.
“We are ready to have the first meeting without precondition,” Tillerson said. “Let’s just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want. Talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table, if that’s what you are excited about. But can we at least sit down and see each other face to face, and then we can begin to lay out a map, a road map of what we might be willing to work towards.”

North Korea Launches Another Missile

The most powerful yet.

North Korea said that the intercontinental ballistic missile it launched earlier today is a new, nuclear-capable weapon that could reach the entire continental U.S.

State television said Wednesday the new ICBM — which it called a Hwasong 15 — was “significantly more” powerful than the previous long-range ICBM the North tested.

The Hwasong 15 reached an altitude of 2,800 miles, making it the highest North Korean missile test to date, two U.S. officials confirmed.

It traveled for an estimated 50 minutes, the longest of the country’s missile flights, an official said.

Nukes? Check.

ICBM? Check.

Nuke small enough to launch? TBD.

Threat to U.S. and allies? Check.

 

North Korean Defector Found Riddled With Parasites

They may have to resort to nukes just because their soldiers aren’t healthy enough for a sustained effort.

The massive infection is most likely linked to the low levels of hygiene found in the hermit kingdom. The worms were most likely contracted by eating vegetables fertilized with human feces, the doctors believe. There are many ways to safely use manure to fertilize fields, however, it appears that North Korea doesn’t use these practices.

International sanctions, droughts, and disastrous internal management mean food shortages are a big problem in North Korea. Up to 70 percent of the population live on food aid and eat a dangerously unvaried diet. Micronutrient deficiencies, particularly in iron, zinc, vitamin A, and iodine, are therefore common. Inside the soldier’s gut, they also found corn, a staple grain of the North Korean diet.

In the DPRK, young men must serve compulsory military service for 10 years and women for seven. A further 4-5 percent of North Korea’s 24 million people serve on active military duty, and another 30 percent are assigned to a reserve or paramilitary unit, according to the US Office of Secretary of Defense. This means the soldier’s body is representative of many North Koreans and potentially insightful for researchers hoping to learn about the wider health of the country.

“I don’t know what is happening in North Korea, but I found many parasites when examining other defectors,” added Professor Seo Min. “In one case, we found 30 types of roundworms in a female defector. The parasite infection problem seems to be serious even if it does not represent the entire North Korean population.”

Trump Tweets About North Korea

Wait… what?

nk

 

North Korea Claims to Have Tested Hydrogen Bomb

Whoa

What’s happened: North Korea claims it’s successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for its intercontinental ballistic missile. This is the country’s sixth test of a nuclear weapon and the first since US President Trump came to office.

What do we know about it: Initial data suggests this is the most powerful weapon the country has ever tested. It caused a 6.3-magnitude tremor in the country’s northeast.

What’s the reaction been: US President Donald Trump said North Korea’s actions were “hostile and dangerous.” South Korea said it will seek to “completely isolate” North Korea, while China urged Pyongyang to “stop taking wrong actions.” Russia said the test “deserves the strongest condemnation.”

If true, this is a significant next step on their progression.

Japan Applies Pressure on North Korea

It looks like our allies are following America’s lead in applying pressure to North Korea’s enablers.

Tokyo (AFP) – Japan said Friday it will impose fresh sanctions on North Korea by freezing the assets of Chinese and Namibian firms doing business with the nuclear-armed state.

The move against a half dozen organisations and a couple of individuals comes days after Washington expanded its own punitive measures against Chinese and Russian firms, as well as people linked to Pyongyang.

The US move drew an angry response from Beijing, North Korea’s key ally, while Japanese media said Friday that Namibia has been tightening its links to the North in recent years.

“We will continue to make strong calls (for North Korea) to take actions toward denuclearisation,” Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government’s top spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

“Now is the time to apply pressure,” he added.

The sanctions are aimed at disrupting the flow of cash funding North Korean weapons programmes, which are in violation of United Nations resolutions.

North Korea “Accidentally” Reveals New Missile Systems

They have reverted to more subtle threats.

North Korea appears to have revealed details of two as-yet untested missile systems in its press coverage of a factory inspection by the country’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Photographs released by KCNA state news agency to go with a report on Mr Kim’s visit to a facility at the Academy of Defence Sciences facility show wall charts describing the missiles, called Hwasong-13 and Pukguksong-3.

Hwasong-13 appears to be a three-stage ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile), while the chart showing Pukguksong-3, although largely obscured by officials, is an Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM).

It’s not the first time that North Korea has “accidentally” left details of important developments in the background of photo-shoots, and this is seen by analysts as a means of showing off its military power or sending messages to its foes.

North Korea Rattles Its Saber (Again)

Yikes.

North Korea says it is considering missile strikes on the US Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury”.

The North’s official news agency said it was mulling a plan to fire medium-to-long-range rockets at Guam, where US strategic bombers are based.

The statement marks a sharp rise in rhetoric between the two countries.

The UN recently approved further economic sanctions against the country.

President Trump’s comments followed a media report that claimed the North had made a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles.

This development, while not confirmed, was seen as one of the last obstacles to North Korea being a fully nuclear armed state.

Why is it that when the UN does something, the US gets threatened?

North Koreans Kill Otto Warmbier

Make no mistake, the North Koreans detained this young American, scrambled his brain, and killed him. His alleged crime? He took a poster. Remember that they also have nukes.

The US student held in captivity for more than 15 months in North Korea has died a week after returning home.

Otto Warmbier, 22, was serving 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.

He was sent back to the US last Tuesday on humanitarian grounds – it emerged he had been in a coma for a year.

North Korea said he had contracted botulism but his family say North Korea subjected him to “awful torturous mistreatment” in detention.

A team of US doctors have also disputed North Korea’s version of events.

Un’s Cookies

Something about cookies

“People are saying: ‘Is he sane?’ I have no idea…. but he was a young man of 26 or 27… when his father died. He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others.

“And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.”

Trump is probably right. Un is not unintelligent and received a good education. But his secret to holding power is probably more rooted in his ruthlessness rather than his intellect.

US Takes More Muscular Stance Toward North Korea

Unlike Obama, one gets the sense that the Trump Administration will back up a “red line.” The real question is, should we?

Seoul (CNN) The US would consider military action against North Korea if it was provoked, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday.

Speaking in Seoul at a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Tillerson said Washington’s policy of “strategic patience” had ended.

“Certainly, we do not want things to get to a military conflict… but obviously if North Korea takes actions that threatens the South Korean forces or our own forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response,” he said, in response to a question from CNN.

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table,” Tillerson added.

Malaysian Authorities Say Kim Jong-Nam Killed by Nerve Agent

Wow. Spy novel stuff.

Mr Kim died last week after two women accosted him briefly in a check-in hall at a Kuala Lumpur airport.

Malaysian toxicology reports indicate he was attacked using “VX nerve agent”, which is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

Malaysia has not blamed the North Korean state for the death, but says North Koreans were clearly behind it.

Mr Kim died on the way to hospital shortly after the 13 February airport encounter. His body remains in a hospital mortuary, amid a diplomatic dispute over who should claim it.

Meeting Etiquette

It’s dangerous to be a henchman for a totalitarian megalomaniac.

Seoul (AFP) – North Korea has executed a vice premier for showing disrespect during a meeting presided over by leader Kim Jong-Un, South Korea said Wednesday, after reports that he fell asleep.

The regime also banished two other senior officials, Seoul said, the latest in a slew of punishments Kim is believed to have ordered in what analysts say is an attempt to tighten his grip on power.

“Vice premier for education Kim Yong-Jin was executed,” Seoul’s Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said at a regular briefing.

Kim was killed by a firing squad in July as “an anti-party, anti-revolutionary agitator,” added an official at the ministry, who declined to be named.

“Kim Yong-Jin was denounced for his bad sitting posture when he was sitting below the rostrum” during a session of North Korea’s parliament, and then underwent an interrogation that revealed other “crimes”, the official told reporters.

Hackers Stealing From Banks Linked to North Korea

I suppose they need to fund their nuclear program with something.

It’s now clear the global banking system has been under sustained attack from a sophisticated group — dubbed “Lazarus” — that has been linked to North Korea, according to a report from cybersecurity firm Symantec.

 In at least four cases, computer hackers have been able to gain a dangerous level of access to SWIFT, the worldwide interbank communication network that settles transactions.

In early February, hackers broke into Bangladesh’s central bank and stole $101 million. Their methods appear to have been deployed in similar heists last year targeting commercial banks inEcuador and Vietnam.

Symantec revealed evidence on Thursday that suggests hackers used the same technique to slip into a bank in the Philippines in October. Symantec (SYMC) did not name the bank.

North Korean Colonel Defects

Welcome!

Seoul, South Korea (CNN)A senior intelligence officer with the North Korean military has defected to South Korea, officials in Seoul said Monday.

The defector was a senior colonel with the North Korean Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is in charge of espionage operations against South Korea, according to South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun and Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee.
Speaking in separate news conferences Monday, the ministry spokesmen confirmed that reports on the defection by South Korea’s semiofficial Yonhap News Agency were accurate but said they could give no further details.

North Korean Submarine Goes Missing

The race is on to recover it.

A North Korean submarine is missing and presumed sunk, according to reports in the US media.

The vessel was operating off the North Korean coast for several days when it disappeared, a paper with close links to the US military says.

The accident comes at a time of heightened tension in the region as South Korea and the US continue their largest-ever military exercise.

North Korean has issued another threat of war over the drill.

It said it was prepared to launch a pre-emptive strike in response to any sign that an invasion was being prepared.

Obama Administration Had Secret Peace Negotiations with North Korea

So after agreeing to a path to nuclear weapons for Iran, Obama wanted to give North Korea a free hand with its nukes? Lovely. Well, at least we’re not normalizing relations with anti-American regimes that oppress their citizens… oh, wait.

The White House secretly agreed to enter negotiations with North Korea to formally end the Korean War, going so far as to agree to eliminate preconditions concerning its nuclear program, just days before the country tested what it claimed to be a hydrogen bomb.

The Wall Street Journalreported the Obama administration instead “called for North Korea’s atomic weapons program to be simply part of the talks. Pyongyang declined the counter-proposal, according to U.S. officials familiar with the events. Its nuclear test on Jan. 6 ended the diplomatic gambit.”

In the wake of the Jan. 6 nuclear test, the U.S. and Japan imposed new sanctions on North Korea, with the U.S. blacklisting “primarily Chinese” companies that do business with the dictatorship, according to the Journal.

News of the failed negotiations will be a headache for the Obama administration, which sought to capitalize on the momentum generated from another nuclear deal with Iran. Conservatives in Congress and elsewhere have harshly criticized the president for what they see as insufficiently tough foreign policy.

North Korea Kills Chief of Staff

It looks like there is some dissension in the ranks.

A senior North Korean military leader has been executed for “factionalism, misuse of authority and corruption,” a South Korean government official with knowledge of North Korean affairs told CNN Thursday.

The official, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, declined to give further details on how or when General Ri Yong-gil, chief of the North Korean Army’s general staff, was executed.

When taken in with the news of NK launching a long range missile and making plutonium, my guess is that Dear Leader is growing more aggressive and there are some who are sane enough to know that it would be national suicide for them to start a nuclear war.

US Warns of North Korean Plutonium Resources

Some might consider this a problem. Perhaps our Secretary of State could look into it.

North Korea could soon have enough plutonium for nuclear weapons after restarting one of its reactors, US intelligence chief James Clapper says.

He also said Pyongyang had taken steps towards making an intercontinental ballistic missile system.

It comes days after the North launched a long-range rocket, which critics say is a test of banned missile technology.

Last September Pyongyang said its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon had resumed normal operations.