North Korean electro-magnetic pulse able to attack US via South Pole
North Korean electro-magnetic pulse able to attack US via South Pole

Back in the 1950s, the US threw many millions of dollars at analysing the military capabilities against the then growing threat posed by the USSR.

Six decades on, we have social networking, crowd-sourcing and the Internet - and HP has been quietly analysing the latest growing threat of North Korea, without requiring anywhere near the investigative investments sanctioned by President Eisenhower in 1953.  

In HP's latest security analysis - entitled `Profiling an enigma: The mystery of North Korea's cyber threat landscape' - HP explains how, by augmenting existing Internet resource data with open source intelligence (OSINT), it has been able to paint a picture of North Korea's cyber warfare capabilities.

So why would North Korea develop a cyber warfare capability? The answer, says the report, is that the nation's physical capabilities are physically and geographically limited. Using the Internet as a medium, however, makes the theatre of war global.

According to Kim Heung-Kwang, a North Korean defector and former computer science professor, the North Korean regime has several motivations for expanding its cyber warfare capabilities. These include the nation's schools focusing on maths, creating an environment that fosters programmers, cryptographers, and security researchers amongst its students.

"Considering the separatist nature of North Korea's infrastructure, cyber warfare provides a strategic advantage since outbound attacks are possible, but inbound attacks would have limited reach," says Heung-Kwang, adding that cyber warfare allows North Korea to leverage the Internet's inherent flaws for offensive purposes while maintaining its defences, primarily air-gapping its most critical networks from the outside world.