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Pompeo approves new cyber-security bureau, citing threats from N. Korea, others

North Korea 03:55 January 08, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved the establishment of a department bureau to counter cyber-security threats from North Korea and other countries, the State Department said Thursday.

"Secretary Pompeo has approved the creation of the Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET) and has directed the Department to move forward with standing up the bureau," it said in a press release.

"The need to reorganize and resource America's cyberspace and emerging technology security diplomacy through the creation of CSET is critical, as the challenges to U.S. national security presented by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other cyber and emerging technology competitors and adversaries have only increased since the Department notified Congress in June 2019 of its intent to create CSET," it added.

The department said the new bureau will spearhead U.S. government efforts on cyber security and technology policy issues that affect U.S. foreign policy and national security, including "securing cyberspace and critical technologies, reducing the likelihood of cyber conflict, and prevailing in strategic cyber competition."

The decision to set up the new cyber security bureau follows a massive attack by suspected Russian hackers against U.S. government networks, including that of the Justice Department.

While Pompeo said Russia was "likely" to blame for the latest attack, he has also repeatedly highlighted threats posed by other countries such as China and North Korea.

"The United States government is constantly under threat from cyber attacks. The particular incident that I think you're referring to was in fact a Russian operation, but as we sit here today...there are North Korean efforts. There are Chinese efforts. There are Iranian efforts," the top U.S. diplomat said in a recent interview with Bloomberg, according to the State Department.

Unlike most other countries, North Korea is widely believed to be after financial gains as the impoverished country faces a wide range of economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the U.N. Security Council.

More recently, however, the North has been accused to trying to steal information about ongoing development of COVID-19 vaccines.

North Korea is said to have more than 6,300 trained hackers, mostly based in other countries including China and Russia.


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