South Korean nuclear submarine shipyard hacked by North Korean threat actors

The targeted documents included long-running conceptual research into the development of nuclear-powered submarines conducted by Daewoo Shipbuilding

Photo: ROK Navy

Government sources in South Korea reported that hackers connected to North Korea stole information about Navy vessels and submarines designed and built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, possibly including research for a domestically designed nuclear powered submarine.

"The targeted documents include long-running conceptual research into the development of nuclear-powered submarines that was conducted by Daewoo Shipbuilding," said one source at the technology protection division of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

“Some of the documents got out, but we haven’t been able to verify that the ones related to the nuclear-powered submarine development were among these,” the source added.

There is a possibility that the partially successful hacking of Daewoo Shipbuilding is related to a May 14 intrusion when a foreign IP address used by the North Korean hacking organization “kimsuky” was identified in the internal system of South Korea's nuclear energy research institute. However, according to another source, the organization that hacked Daewoo Shipbuilding was different from the one that hacked the company in April 2016, resulting in the leak of 60 naval design secrets. "It almost appears that different organizations and teams under the command of the Reconnaissance General Bureau are competing to infiltrate the South," said the source. The bureau is North Korea’s military intelligence agency, which targets Japan, South Korea and the United States.

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