North Korean Hackers Compromise South Korean Presidential Staff

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

A series of events led to North Korean hackers compromising the emails of one of the South Korean President’s aides. This comes as North Korean rhetoric grows increasingly aggressive.

This marks the first time that North Korea succeeded in hacking a member of South Korea’s presidential team, with potentially dangerous implications.

According to the local paper, Kukmin Ilbo, the stolen data included emails sent between presidential staff members. Making it worse, confidential emails directly from President Yoon were allegedly obtained. At the very least, there is no evidence that they compromised any official systems in the President’s office.

Making matters worse, the aide was using his personal email account for all of his sensitive exchanges — normally, an official email should be used for this exact reason. Due to how lax their security was, it’s possible that the hackers obtained his login details through a plain old everyday phishing scam.

“The breach was caused by a careless violation of security regulations by an individual administrator who used a commercial email for work purposes,” the President’s office told BBC News.

Travel plans for important international meetings were leaked directly before the president was set to leave. The hack was known about before the meetings, and staff members had a chance to tighten security.

“We detected the case in advance of the visit and took necessary measures,” the President’s office said

Lately, North Korea has launched numerous cyber attacks on nations and businesses around the world, prompting the U.N. to launch wide-scale investigations into dozens of attacks. Reports from various researchers indicate that the money being generated from these crimes is being used to fuel North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons program.

While it’s too early to tell how significant the leaks will be overall, the fact that it happened has sent political shockwaves through South Korea that may fuel more stringent cybersecurity-related policies.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."