North Korea hacked who now?
For five months in 2021-2022, North Korean hackers ran wild in the systems of a top Russian missile company, according to a new report by Reuters.
The breach of NPO Mashinostroyeniya, which makes Russia’s cutting-edge hypersonic cruise missiles, was discovered by Reuters and a team of cybersecurity experts who were tipped off when an IT person at the Russian company uploaded info about the hack to a server monitored by global cyber analysts.
These are friends, right? Despite some hiccups over the years about Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programs, Moscow and North Korea have generally enjoyed good relations, and since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the two countries have drawn closer as Putin looks for non-Western partners who know a thing or two about isolation.
It’s unclear what intel the North Koreans got in the hack. But experts note that shortly afterward, Pyongyang debuted a missile powered by solid fuel, a tricky technology that makes it easier to deploy the weapons undetected. NPO Mashinostroyeniya had been developing similar fuels.The company discovered the breach itself, but we don’t know if the Kremlin was informed, so keep an eye on Russia-North Korea ties in the coming weeks for any fresh fallout.
Either way, the episode shows two things: First, Russia’s elite military technologies are hackable by those with the right skills, and second, there’s a trust deficit even in the Kremlin’s closest partnerships. Recall that Russia recently arrested a scientist for passing hypersonic secrets to China.
And yes, there’s a song for this: GZERO’s Puppet Regime satire series is on it. “With friends like these, who really needs enemies?”