A new report claims the United States attempted to infiltrate and hijack North Korea’s nuclear weapons program with a computer virus, but the plan failed because the Democratic People’s Republic has basically no internet.
According to the new report by Reuters, five years ago, the U.S tried to deploy a version of ‘Stuxnet’, a malware virus which disabled Iranian projects in 2009 and 2010.
According to one U.S. intelligence source, Stuxnet’s developers produced a related virus that would be activated when it encountered Korean-language settings on an infected machine.
There was just one problem; access to the global Internet in the secretive nation is heavily restricted. The majority of North Korea only has access to a closed national network called the ‘Kwangmyong’, an intranet with state-approved information.
So, given that North Korea has one of the most aggressive online censorship regimes on the planet, it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise to U.S agents that they were unable to access the core machines that ran the nuclear weapons program.
A former high-ranking intelligence official who was briefed on the program said the National Security Agency campaign was derailed by North Korea’s complete secrecy and the extreme isolation of its communications systems.
So it seems barely having an Internet infrastructure is a really effective way to avoid hacking.
Maybe Kim Jong Un is pretty switched on, after all.