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North Korea Threatens to Hack Presidential Office with Deepfake Videos

Daniel Kim Views  

Yonhap

As North Korea escalates inter-Korean tensions with its globally unprecedented four times trash balloon attacks, attention is being drawn to new responses.

North Korea and military experts have raised concerns that instead of using physical force, there could be a spread of deepfake photos accompanied by extensive hacking attempts.

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff on the 10th, about 310 trash balloons sent from North Korea the previous night to the morning were identified in South Korea. The balloons contained garbage, such as waste paper and vinyl, with no harmful substances for safety, and no additional balloon floats were observed.

North Korea has also announced a new provocation following the trash balloon attacks. Kim Yo Jong, deputy director of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Kim Jong Un’s sister, threatened that if South Korea proceeded with leaflet distribution and loudspeaker broadcasts across the border, it would “witness our new response” in what she called “the prelude to a hazardous situation.”

Experts on North Korea and the military suggest that North Korea could move its provocation base online. Military expert Kim Dae Young speculated, “North Korea could use non-physical means along with physical provocations like trash balloon attacks. There is a possibility of spreading a deepfake composite photo of President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee to discredit the government, along with hacking attempts.”

Yonhap

Another expert on North Korea also pointed out that “Just as defectors sent manipulated images of former President Roh Moo Hyun to North Korea in the past, North Korea could induce domestic political tensions through distributing videos about President Yoon and his wife or hacking.”

North Korea has been continuously attempting to hack key government institutions such as the presidential office. It was revealed that North Korea checked the itinerary schedule by hacking the email of a presidential administrative officer in November last year during President Yoon’s state visit to the UK.

A group believed to be the North Korean hacking organization Lazarus also infiltrated the domestic court computer network, stealing a large amount of court data, including personal information, for two years.

In response to the cyber threats from North Korea, the National Intelligence Service began cyber attack response training for 287 public sector ICT infrastructures nationwide from the 10th to the 21st. It is a part of the plan to be fully prepared to respond quickly in case of any unusual occurrences, as it is impossible to rule out the possibility of North Korea’s cyber provocations against national infrastructure.

Meanwhile, our military did not conduct additional anti-North loudspeaker broadcasts on the 10th.

It is interpreted that the direction has been switched to manage the situation and lower the tension on the military demarcation line, as the level of criticism in Deputy Director Kim’s speech was not as intense as expected.

An official from the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “We are maintaining a readiness posture while keeping an eye on the movements of the North Korean military,” and “We are ready to broadcast even immediately if North Korea commits a despicable act.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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