North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Hacking at an Early Age

[This posting was mis-linked to another story; the Dong A-Ilbo link is in place with my apologies.]

Donga A-Ilbo has a useful story about the formal education of DPRK computer hackers.  There have been previous reports about the DPRK building up its computer technology and hacking capabilities as part of its larger SIGINT operations, and several cyber-attacks during the summer of 2009 were allegedly conducted by North Koreans in coordination with operatives dispersed in countries throughout the world.  Pyongyang watchers have been aware for some time, in open sources due in part to the top flight research of Joseph Bermudez, of the Mirim War College (a/k/a Kim Il College) with its Electronic Warfare Research Institute education facility.  This news account now alleges that education in computer hacking as early as age 10 at the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace and that such illicit technology education continues into senior middle school, specifically at the Kumsong secondary schools.  One will note that one Kumsong campus is adjacent to PIINTEC’s [Pyongyang International Information Center on New Technology and Economy] IT Center.  These are not the only institutions where alleged computer hacking education occurs, there other places in Pyongyang and DPRK where this occurs.

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  1. […] General-Secretary Kim then visited the riverside Huichon Silk Mill which is currently in its 21st year of operation.  Like the Youth Electric Complex, the last time he conducted a guidance tour was in 1998, in October, about a month after the DPRK Constitution was amended to establish his supreme State power via the National Defense Commission.  During his guidance tour, General-Secretary Kim directly alluded to the late DPRK President Kim Il-sung’s remarks from the 1992 New Year’s Address and in a speech entitled “Let Us Realize the Country’s Reunification Through the United Effort of the Whole Nation”: “The mill should provide silk fabric works with larger quantities of quality silk to meet the Suryong’s lifelong desire that all the people should wear silks and live on rice and meat soup in tile-roofed houses.”  Kim Jong-il and the guidance travel party moved on to one of the General-Secretary’s areas of interest–computers and technology.  The final stop on the Huichon guidance tour was to the Huichon University of Technology.  One matter of note is that Huichon University of Technology is a reversion.  In 2003 it was merged a institution, briefly known as the Huichon University of Communications and around 2008 known as the Huichon University of Post and Telecommunications.  It is likely that prior to, or during, this guidance tour the institution’s name was changed.  It is also likely that the University links to the Youth Electric Complex with responsibilities for training some of its workforce.  (One can project their own computer hacking implications about these places here) […]

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This article was written on 24 Oct 2009, and is filled under Korean Workers' Party (KWP), Workers' and Social Organizations.

An affiliate of 38 North