North Korean hackers exploit VPN bug to gain access to South Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

North Korean hackers exploit VPN bug to gain access to South Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute

North Korean hackers broke their way into the IT systems of the South Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), according to a statement issued by the government-funded organisation.

The hack, which was initially denied by KAERI, took place last month on May 14, exploiting a vulnerability in the unnamed VPN system used by the research institute.

KAERI says that it has since applied a security update to its VPN system and blocked IP addresses used in the attack, including one that had been previously associated with attacks from North Korean hackers.

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Earlier this month, experts at security vendor Malwarebytes published a report about how a number of South Korean government agencies – and the International Atomic Energy Agency – had been targeted with spearphishing attacks by the North Korean hacking group known as Kimsuky (also known as Black Banshee, Velvet Chollima, and Thallium.)

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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