North Korea

Pentagon Says North Korea Could Become More Active in Cyberwarfare

More cost effective than conventional militaries


North Korea is barely connected to the global internet. But it's trying to step up its hacker game by breaking into hostile networks, according to a new Pentagon report.

"North Korea probably has a military computer network operations (CNO) capability," assesses the Pentagon's latest public estimate (.PDF) of the military threat from North Korea.

So far, suspected North Korean cyber efforts are more like vandalism and espionage than warfare — as with most so-called "cyberattacks" not related to the U.S./Israeli Stuxnet worm. But the Pentagon believes Pyongyang is going to lean into network attacks in the future, largely out of necessity.

"Given North Korea's bleak economic outlook, CNO may be seen as a cost-effective way to modernize some North Korean military capabilities," the report assesses. "The North Korean regime may view CNO as an appealing platform from which to collect intelligence."