With the tensions between North Korea and the West, particularly the US showing no signs of abating, the focus is centered on the eventual use of Nuclear Weapons in a possible conflict. But there is another aspect where North Korea has shown that it is capable and willing to inflict damage to the West as well as the rest of the world, and that is cyber attacks and cyber warfare. In recent years there have been already some recorded Cyber attacks that are connected to North Korea, and as far back as 2015 BBC has recorded that this Asian country has an army of 6,000 hackers that for years has been conducting a series of malicious cyber activities.

The list of attacks is getting longer

The number of significant cyber attacks attributed to North Korea or groups connected to that country, like the infamous "Lazarus" group seems to grow each year. The world took more notice when in 2013 there was an attack on South Korean banking and media systems that caused widespread disruptions there. In 2014 a massive cyber attack was carried against Sony pictures when the studios planned the release of the movie "The Interview" mocking the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The attack caused the release of personal information of all studio employees, the cancellation of the movie's release date and a further rise in political tensions between North Korea and the US.

The cyber attack on the Bangladeshi banking system was attacked in 2016, with $101 million being illegally transferred to the Philippines, with most of the funds not yet being recovered.

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According to the CNN, financial institutions in another 13 countries have been attacked. The most recent cyber incident that is tied to North Korea is the "WannaCry" ransomware attack, which had damaging effects on computers in more than 150 countries, linked to the Lazarus hackers group, which is strongly linked to the Pyongyang regime.

The connection between cyber and nuclear threats

Joe Burton, senior lecturer at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, is of the opinion that analysts often miss the connection between cyber and nuclear security. He points out that cyber attacks pose a severe risk to classified nuclear information, as well as the security of nuclear facilities and all the technical elements connected to the components of nuclear arms and missile technology. According to the "British American Security Information Council" (BASIC) in 2016 it warned the UK government that the country's trident nuclear submarine program is prone to cyber attacks.

While no political or diplomatic solution to the tensions is in sight, the activities in beefing up cyber security seem to present themselves as a pressing task. Along with tightening up all the technical measures, further pursuing malicious and hostile hacker groups seems to be in order.