N. Korea to step up cyber attacks against S. Korea next year: Seoul spy agency
SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is expected to intensify cyber offenses targeting South Korea next year to steal information on advanced technologies, such as nuclear power and space programs, Seoul's spy agency said Thursday.
North Korean hacking groups will likely focus on stealing the South's technologies related to nuclear plants, chips and the defense industry, and also collect information on South Korea and the United States' policy on the North, according to the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
"Marking the third year under its five-year economic development plan in 2023, the North is expected to be bent on stealing key technologies, and collecting diplomatic and security intelligence in a bid to meet its policy goals," the agency said.
The NIS said the North has ramped up its cyber threats and other online attacks on the South following of its previous nuclear tests in protest of international sanctions on its nuclear and missile programs.
The agency's assessment came amid speculation that North Korea may press ahead with its seventh nuclear test in the near future.
The NIS also said the North will likely engage in more cyber crimes involving cryptocurrency theft next year.
North Korea is estimated to have stolen cryptocurrency assets worth of 1.5 trillion won (US$1.2 billion) globally since 2017, including some 800 billion won this year alone, it added.
North Korea is suspected of engaging in malicious cyber activities, including cryptocurrency theft, in a bid to help fund its nuclear and missile programs.
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