A North Korean hacking group known as Kimsuky broke into the network of South Korea’s state-run nuclear think tank last month, the latest in a series of cyberattacks by the North, a South Korean lawmaker said on Friday.
Affiliated with North Korea’s Reconnaissance General Bureau spy agency, the group had previously targeted South Korean COVID-19 vaccine developers and a state-run nuclear reactor operator, among others.
The breach of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) took place on May 14 involving 13 internet addresses including one traced to Kimsuky, said Ha Tae-keung, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee, citing an analysis by Seoul-based cybersecurity firm IssueMakersLab.
“The incident could pose serious security risks if any core information was leaked to North Korea, as KAERI is the country’s largest think tank studying nuclear technology including reactors and fuel rods,” Ha said in a statement.
A KAERI official said the institute reported the intrusion to the government after discovering it on May 31, and an investigation was being carried out.
North Korea has been developing nuclear weapons using plutonium from spent reactor fuel. U.S.-led negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programme have been stalled since 2019.
An official at the science and technology ministry, which is leading the investigation, said it had not found evidence to determine that North Korea was behind the hack.
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