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Reuters: Russian missile developer hacked by North Korea

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 7, 2023 4:24 PM 2 min read
A TV screen shows an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) at Pyongyang during a news program at the Yongsanl Railway Station in Seoul. (Photo by KIM Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The computer networks of a one of Russia's top missile developers were breached by an "elite group of North Korean hackers," Reuters reported on Aug. 7.

According to Reuters, cyber-espionage teams linked to the North Korean government "secretly installed stealthy digital backdoors into systems at NPO Mashinostroyeniya," a major Russian weapons developer.

The company, which was founded in 1944 and is based in Reutov, just outside of Moscow, produces hypersonic missiles, satellites, and ballistic armaments.

Reuters said that it could not determine whether any data was taken as a result of the breach, but that in the months following the hack, North Korea declared new "developments in its banned ballistic missile program."

Reuters highlighted, however, that it was not clear if these events were directly related.

Reuters and security analysts from cyber security company SentinelOne reviewed technical evidence that showed the systems were secretly breached for at least five months last year, starting around late 2021 and continuing until May 2022, when IT engineers detected suspicious activity.

The report added that experts believe "the incident shows how the isolated country will even target its allies" to obtain technologies it needs to develop its own missile program.

According to SentinelOne, the use of malware and infrastructure used by North Korean hackers to carry out other breaches in the past pointed to their involvement.  

White House: Russia seeks to buy more munitions from North Korea
Russia seeks to buy more munitions from North Korea for the war in Ukraine as Moscow grows increasingly dependent on foreign supplies, the Associated Press (AP) reported on Aug. 3, citing U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.


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