A few years ago, a Stuxnet campaign was successfully launched against Iran, hindering the country’s nuclear program by causing an overload that destroyed a thousand nuclear centrifuges. In the wake of that successful attack, a report from Reuters (via The Verge) has revealed that the US government had attempted a similar attack on North Korea as well.
However unlike the campaign launched against Iran, the US attack on North Korea was a failure as it was unable to breach the country’s systems. One of the reasons why it failed is because it was initially assumed that North Korea’s systems would be similar to Iran, but thanks to the country’s isolated web which is strictly controlled by the government, it made it a lot harder for malware to break in.
Unsurprisingly when asked about their attempts to launch the attack on North Korea, a spokeswoman for the NSA declined to comment about it. Previously the agency had also declined to comment on the attack against Iran. That being said, while it probably isn’t surprising to learn that the US government has conducted many cyber espionage programs in the past, Iran and North Korea are the only two countries which are named where the NSA is said to have attempted to destroy equipment through the use of software.
It is also not a surprising attack especially when you consider that the US has long expressed their concerns about the country’s nuclear capabilities.
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