North Korea targeting military suppliers with email hack, source says

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   May 13, 2016 at 2:48 PM
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SEOUL, May 13 (UPI) -- North Korea could be behind an attempted hacking operation that is targeting South Korea's defense industry.

A Seoul military source told Yonhap on Friday an investigation is ongoing after anonymous emails made to appear as if they were from South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration were sent to defense suppliers.

"We are leading the investigation with the assumption that they could be North Korea's hacking attempts on defense firms," the source said.

The email was made to look like an online survey of suppliers, and was sent from a falsified account, Seoul's unidentified source said.

The message claimed DAPA was looking to provide various incentives to defense suppliers, including South Korean government subsidies. To improve the process, the government was taking a survey of email recipients, the message read.

The email came with an attachment labeled "DAPA.rar" that required downloading if the user wanted to participate in the survey.

Once downloaded, military analysts concluded, the program infects the user's computer with various malware that could cause data leaks.

The South Korean source said the email should be "deleted immediately," and if the program was accidentally downloaded the incident should be reported to the Defense Security Command.

While the source said the evidence isn't conclusive, it is highly likely the malware was of North Korean origin, given that the hacking was targeting South Korea's defense industry.

The warning comes less than two months after South Korea's science ministry issued an alert about electronic jamming signals from the North that could affect GPS navigation for vehicle transport and aircraft.

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