Thursday, December 7, 2023

VPN Flaw Let North Korea To Hack South’s Nuclear Research Institute

The Yonhap News Agency and Ha Tae-keung the politician of South Korea have reported that Korea’s biggest nuclear research institute KAERI got hacked by some hacking group of North Korea.

However, the security breach of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute has damaged nearly 13 web pages, that took place on May 14. 

After knowing about this attack Ha Tae-keung a member of the Parliament’s Intelligence Committee had made some investigation. Later the Deputy came to know that Kimsuky is behind this attack, it is a North Korean APT group that performed this attack.

The Deputy responded that there is much further detail that is not yet cleared about this breach, that’s why the organization is still investigating the attack and trying its best to find out all the key details that have been breached by the hackers.

VPN Flaw Exploited to Hack

However, this breach has taken place over an anonymous virtual private network (VPN) vendor that has involved a total of 13 IP addresses, one of which — “27.102.114[.]89”, and as per the report this IP address has been linked with the threat actors of Kimsuky.

The researchers pronounced that they are still not clear regarding what VPN vulnerability was exploited to attack the institution. 

But during the investigation, the security researchers claimed that there are some unpatched VPN systems that have been attacked recently by many threat actors, and they are from:-

  • Pulse Secure
  • SonicWall
  • Fortinet FortiOS
  • Citrix

The experts asserted that these kinds of attacks are quite risky, as if any sensitive information gets leaked to North Korea then it could pose serious security hazards.

KAERI is one of the biggest think tanks of South Korea that is studying nuclear technology along with the different reactors and fuel rods.

At first, everyone has denied and made a false report, that declared that there was no hacking event, initially after investigating the whole matter the Assemblyman Ha Tae-Kyung announced that every one of the institutes has confessed to the attack.

However, the KAERI is a national research institute that has played a very significant role in constructing South Korea’s own nuclear power plant, not only this but it also transfers nuclear technologies direct to the local industries for practical applications.

This is not the first time, South Korea has accused North Korea of initiating a large number of ​cyberattacks. All these attacks also include the breach that took place in 2011 against several banks in the country.

Moreover, the cyberattacks also targeted a state-owned nuclear reactor operator that took place in 2015, not only this but the hackers have also targeted the Defense Ministry in 2016. 

The deputy confirmed that they will try their best to find all the possible clues regarding this attack, as it’s one of the most crucial attacks that might cause many serious damges to the country.

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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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