South Korea issues sanctions on North Korean hacking group Kimsuky

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Jun. 2, 2023 7:48PM GMT+9

South Korea imposed sanctions on Friday on a North Korean hacking group known as Kimsuky over espionage campaigns.

In a joint press release on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Police Agency, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Financial Services Commission stated that the hacking group has been stealing sensitive information related to diplomacy and national security and targeting South Korean organizations and individuals.

According to a joint cybersecurity advisory issued by South Korea and the United States on the same day, Kimsuky has been conducting cyberattacks over the past ten years, especially using spear phishing campaigns posing as real journalists, academics, or other individuals to collect intelligence linked to their country’s interests.

The joint statement also explained that the hacking group was one of the North Korean state-sponsored hackers who stole the latest technology and took part both directly and indirectly in the development of spy satellites. On May 31, North Korea’s attempt to launch its spy satellite into space failed as the rocket fell in the west sea of South Korea.

The South Korean government expects this sanction will be effective in hindering the hacking group’s operations against South Koreans. Furthermore, they stressed that this action shows South Korea’s firm commitment to act against North Korea’s threat to continue launching its spy satellite.

“We are looking into additional measures against North Korea’s illicit cyber activities,” said an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The official did not disclose further details about their plans.

This is not the first sanction imposed against North Korean hacking groups during the Yoon Suk-yeol administration. Last February, the South Korean government sanctioned four North Koreans and seven North Korean linked organizations for their alleged involvement in illegal cyber activities to provide financial support for the country’s nuclear weapons program.

The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.