At the same time that President Trump was meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, hackers in North Korea continued to attack U.S. and European companies, reported the New York Times.
According to the report, North Korean hackers, who have been going after American and European businesses for about a year and a half now, continued their efforts despite the meeting to advance talks about disarmament. The campaign started with attacks on banks, utilities and oil and gas companies when tensions between the U.S. and North Korea were at a heightened level. But even now with the two sides in talks to disarm North Korea, the hacks continue.
The attacks last week were spotted by researchers at McAfee, who thanks to an unnamed foreign law enforcement agency were able to get into the servers used by the North Korean hackers. They watched in real time as the hackers went after the networks of more than 100 businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. “They are very, very, very active. It’s been nonstop,” Raj Samani, McAfee’s chief scientist, told the paper. “We’ve seen them hit in excess of 100 victims.”
The report noted that the attacks were extremely focused on engineers and executives who had broad access to the servers and intellectual property of the companies. McAfee declined to name the companies targeted in the attacks but said the majority were in the U.S. with the largest concentration in Houston and New York. Houston is home to several oil and gas companies and New York is the world’s financial capital. London, Madrid, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Rome, Bangkok, Taipei, Seoul and Hong Kong were also targeted. China and Russia were left alone for the most part.
While Trump came out of his first meeting with the communist leader agreeing to stop the test-firing of missiles, the second meeting last week ended abruptly without a deal. The revelation that hackers continued with their campaign while talks were ongoing is expected to add to the tension. “For 15 months, they haven’t tested weapons because of this negotiation but over those same 15 months they have not stopped their cyber activity,” Victor Cha, the Korea chairman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the news outlet.