10 October 2017

Please don’t hack North Korea’s nuclear weapons

By Lucien Crowder

So you want to hack North Korea—after all, North Korea’s probably hacking you. But what exactly will you do to a country that barely has the Internet?

According to Andy Greenberg at Wired, you’ll have an easy time directing denial-of-service attacks against the websites of Pyongyang’s propaganda organs. But what’s the point?

To have some impact, you’ll want to go after the country’s intranet, where the good stuff is. North Korea’s intranet evidently runs on a homegrown, deeply vulnerable version of Linux. But you’ve still got a problem—the North Koreans are very careful never to connect computers to both the Internet and the intranet. So you can’t get in.

In that case, you’ll need to slip something malicious into the hardware or software that North Korea purchases from abroad—the United States may have managed in this way to disrupt Pyongyang’s missile tests for a while. But only for a while.

Well, then… you need an insider working on your behalf. Good luck establishing a relationship with such an insider. Good luck finding a way to compensate such an individual.

Greenberg’s ultimate point is that hacking into North Korea’s nuclear weapons would be extremely hard. Good.

“This stuff,” says one of Greenberg’s sources, “is ripe for miscalculation.” At a time when madness is near at hand, miscalculation shouldn’t be encouraged.

 

Publication Name: 
Wired