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Reconnaissance General Bureau
Chongch'al Ch'ongguk; a.k.a. KPA Unit 586

The Reconnaissance Bureau of the General Staff Department is responsible for collecting strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence for the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces. It is also responsible for infiltrating intelligence personnel into South Korea though tunnels under the demilitarized zone and seaborne insertion.

The Reconnaissance General Bureau is North Korea's premiere intelligence organization, created in early 2009 by the merger of existing intelligence organizations from the Korean Workers' Party, the Operations Department and Office 35, and the Reconnaissance Bureau of the Korean People's Army. RGB trades in conventional arms and controls the North Korean conventional arms firm Green Pine Associated Corporation (Green Pine).

The internal structure of the RGB is unclear. O, Chong Ok (a.k.a. O, Chong Euk; a.k.a. O, Chong-kuk), Korea, North; DOB 01 Jan 1953 to 31 Dec 1953; POB North Hamgyo'ng Province, North Korea; was Director of the First Bureau of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (individual) [DPRK2]. CHO, Il-U (a.k.a. CHO, Ch'o'l; a.k.a. CHO, Il Woo; a.k.a. JO, Chol), Korea, North; DOB 10 May 1945; POB Musan, North Hamgyo'ng Province, North Korea; nationality Korea, North; Passport 736410010 (Korea, North); was Director of the Fifth Bureau of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (individual) [DPRK2].

The Reconnaissance General Bureau reports directly to the National Defense Commission and is North Korea’s premier intelligence organ responsible for conducting clandestine operations abroad. It administratively is part of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces. The RGB has reportedly been involved with kidnapping and extrajudicial assassinations that span decades. The Operations Department of the Korean Workers’ Party, the predecessor to RGB, was responsible for abducting South Korean and Japanese citizens. Moreover, the RGB has been associated with multiple assassination attempts, including the 1968 attempt on ROK President Park Chung-hee, the 1983 attempted assassination of ROK President Chun Doo-hwan that left 21 dead, and the 2010 attempt on high-ranking DPRK defector Hwang Jang-yeop.

By any consideration North Korea has one of the world's largest special operations forces. Estimates of the size of the army's special operations forces ranged from 60,000 persons to over 100,000 persons. The uncertainty over the number derives from both the lack of information and the varying definitions of special operations forces. Organized into twenty-two brigades and at least seven independent battalions, the special operations forces are believed to be the best trained and to have the highest morale of all North Korean ground forces.

Special operations forces were developed to meet three basic requirements: to breach the flankless fixed defense of South Korea; to create a "second front" in the enemy's rear area, disrupting in-depth South Korean or United States reinforcements and logistical support during a conflict; and to conduct battlefield and strategic reconnaissance. The ultimate goal was to create strategic dislocation. The additional missions of countering opposing forces and internal security were added over time.

The Ministry of the People's Armed Forces controls the bulk of the special operations forces through one of two commands, the Reconnaissance Bureau and the Light Infantry Training Guidance Bureau. The Reconnaissance Bureau is the primary organization within the Ministry of People's Armed Forces for the collection of strategic and tactical intelligence. It also exercises operational control over agents engaged in collecting military intelligence and in the training and dispatch of unconventional warfare teams. The Light Infantry Training Guidance Bureau is directly subordinate to the General Staff Department. The party directly controls approximately 1,500 agents.

Operations are categorized on the basis of the echelon supported. Strategic special operations forces support national or Ministry of People's Armed Forces objectives, operationalsupported corps operations, and tactical-supported maneuver divisions and brigades. Strategic missions of special operations forces in support of national and Ministry of People's Armed Forces objectives involve reconnaissance, sniper, and agent operations, but not light infantry operations, which primarily are tactical operations. The main objectives of these units are to secure information that cannot be achieved by other means, neutralize targets, and disrupt rear areas. In executing these operations, special operations troops may be disguised either as South Korean military personnel or as civilians.

Strategic missions require deep insertions either in advance of hostilities or in the initial stages by naval or air platforms. Based on available insertion platforms, North Korea has a one-time lift capability of 12,000 persons by sea and 6,000 persons by air. Most North Korea special operations forces infiltrate overland and are dedicated to operational and tactical missions, that is, reconnaissance and combat operations in concert with conventional operations in the forward corps. Although it is unknown how forces will be allocated, limits on North Korea's insertion capabilities constrain operational flexibility and determine the allocation of strategic, operational, and tactical missions.

North Korean army special operations forces units are broken down into three categories based on mission and mode of operation: agent operations, reconnaissance, and light infantry and sniper. The Reconnaissance Bureau has four sniper brigades and at least seven independent reconnaissance battalions. The Light Infantry Training Guidance Bureau controls fourteen light infantry/sniper brigades: six "straight-leg" brigades, six airborne brigades, and two amphibious brigades. Four light infantry brigades of unknown subordination are under the operational control of the forward corps. In addition, each regular infantry division and mechanized brigade has an special operations forces battalion.

Reconnaissance units are employed in rear area, strategic intelligence collection, and target information acquisition. Light infantry units operate in company- or battalion-sized units against military, political, or economic targets. Sniper units are distinguished from light infantry units in that their basic operational unit is the team, rather than the larger company or battalion of the light infantry unit.

A reconnaissance brigade consists of between 3,600 and 4,200 personnel. It is organized into a headquarters, rear support units, a communications company, and ten reconnaissance battalions. The basic unit of operation is the reconnaissance team, which has from two to ten men. A light infantry brigade has between 3,300 and 3,600 personnel organized into between five and ten battalions. The brigade can fight as a unit or disperse its battalions for independent operations. A sniper brigade's organization parallels that of the light infantry brigade.

The unique special operations forces dedicated to strategic operations are the two amphibious light infantry/sniper brigades subordinate to the Light Infantry Guidance Bureau. These brigades are believed deployed to Wonsan on the east coast and Namp'o and Tasa-ri on the west coast. In organization and manpower, they are reduced versions of the regular light infantry brigades. The two brigades have a total strength of approximately 5,000 men in ten battalions. Each battalion has about 400 men organized into five companies each. Some amphibious brigade personnel are trained as frogmen.

In the 1970s, in support of overland insertion, North Korea began clandestine tunneling operations along the entire DMZ, with two tunnels per forward division. By 1990 four tunnels dug on historical invasion routes from the north had been discovered by South Korean and United States tunnel neutralization teams: three in the mid-1970s and the fourth in March 1990. The South Koreans suspect there were as many as twenty-five tunnels in the early 1990s, but the level of ongoing tunneling is unknown.

At the operational and tactical level, infiltration tactics are designed for the leading special operations forces brigades to probe and penetrate the weak points of the defense; disrupt the command, control, and communications nodes; and threaten lines of communication and supply. To achieve its goal of nearterm distraction and dislocation of the defender, at least one special operations forces brigade is assigned to each of the four regular army corps deployed along the DMZ. The Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB) is North Korea's premiere intelligence organization involved in North Korea's conventional arms trade. North Korea has long been engaged in the sale of conventional arms to countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Since the 2009 adoption of UNSCR 1874, which bans all arms transfers from North Korea, authorities in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East have seized North Korean shipments suspected of carrying prohibited arms and related materiel.

The conventional arms firm Green Pine Associated Corporation was subordinated to the control of the RGB in 2009 and has been identified as exporting arms or related material from North Korea. Green Pine specializes in the production of maritime military craft and armaments, such as submarines, military boats and missiles systems, and has exported torpedoes and technical assistance to Iranian defense-related firms. Green Pine is responsible for approximately half of the arms and related materiel exported by North Korea and has taken over many of the activities of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), which is listed in the Annex to Executive Order 13382 of June 2005. KOMID was also designated by the UNSCR 1718 Committee to be subject to the provisions of paragraph 8(d) of UNSCR 1718.

  • Criminal Sovereignty: Understanding North Korea's Illicit International Activities by Dr. Paul Rexton Kan, Dr. Bruce E. Bechtol Jr., Mr. Robert M. Collins
  • Office 39 / Bureau 39 - Korean Workers' Party

    Office 39 of the Korean Workers' Party provides critical support to North Korean leadership in part through engaging in illicit economic activities and managing the leadership's slush funds. Luxury goods are used by North Korean leaders to consolidate power and appease members of the political elite by increasing their personal wealth. Office 39 of the Korean Workers' Party engages in illicit economic activity to support the North Korean government. It has branches throughout the nation that raise and manage funds and is responsible for earning foreign currency for North Korea's Korean Workers' Party senior leadership through illicit activities such as narcotics trafficking.

    Paul Rexton Kan, Bruce E. Bechtol, Jr., and Robert M. Collins noted in 2010 that North Korea had " a “court economy,” akin to that practiced by an absolute monarch. Started in 1972, this court economy predates the emergence of Office #39 but is one of the many drivers of criminal sovereignty. The court economy is responsible for approximately 30 to 40 percent of North Korea’s entire economy and is also referred to in a number of other ways, such as the Supreme Leader’s economy, the 3rd economy, the elites’ economy, the cadre economy, or the party (KWP) economy.59 The functional heart of this court economy is now, in fact, Office #39." Office 39 controls a number of entities inside North Korea and abroad through which it conducts numerous illicit activities including the production, smuggling, and distribution of narcotics. Office 39 has also been involved in the attempted procurement and transfer to North Korea of luxury goods. The U.S. government has longstanding concerns regarding North Korea's involvement in a range of illicit activities conducted through government agencies and associated front companies. North Korea's nuclear and missile proliferation activity and other illicit conduct violate UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, and these activities and their other illicit conduct violate international norms and destabilize the Korean Peninsula and the entire region.

    During the past three decades, North Korean citizens, diplomats and government officials have engaged in narcotics trafficking. Officials in Turkey, Egypt, Taiwan and Japan have linked North Korean officials to narcotics possession, distribution and smuggling.

    The United States continues to investigate North Korea's manufacture and distribution of the highly deceptive counterfeit of the U.S. $100 and $50 bills, also known as the "supernote." The United States Secret Service has made definitive connections between the supernote and the government of North Korea. Since its first detection in 1989, the Secret Service has seized approximately $63 million of supernotes globally.

    UNSCR 1718 requires Member States to prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale of transfer to North Korea of luxury goods, which North Korean leadership uses to secure the loyalty of elites and the military. In July 2009, Italian authorities prevented the sale of luxury yachts worth more than $15 million to an Austrian company because they were ultimately destined for North Korea.

    North Korea continues to engage in deceptive financial practices to disguise the true nature of its transactions, using government agencies and front companies to engage in WMD and missile proliferation-related and other illicit activities and to evade detection by financial institutions around the world. All of the conduct above is facilitated by the deceptive financial practices North Korea engages in to disguise the true nature of its transactions.

    In 2009, Office 39 was involved in the failed attempt to purchase and export to North Korea -- through China -- two Italian-made luxury yachts worth more than $15 million. Halted by Italian authorities, the attempted export of the yachts destined for Kim Jong-il was in violation of United Nations sanctions against North Korea under UNSCR 1718, which specifically require Member States to prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of luxury goods to North Korea.

    Office 39 previously used Banco Delta Asia to launder illicit proceeds. Banco Delta Asia was identified by the Treasury Department in September 2005 as a "primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act because it represented an unacceptable risk of money laundering and other financial crimes.

  • Kim Yong-chol
  • Kim Yong-chol

    Kim Yong-chol / Kim Young-cheol was a member of the Central Military Commission (since 2010) and vice chief of the General Staff (since 2013). From February 2009 to January 2016, he served as the Director General of the Reconnaissance General Department (RGB), the country's leading intelligence agency. Kim Yong-chol was demoted from general to colonel (or lieutenant) general in 2012, but re-promoted to general in February 2013.

    Born in 1945 or 1946 in Pyongan North province, North Korea, he attended Mangyongdae Revolutionary School and Kim Il Sung Military University. In 1962 he served in the People's Army 15th Division DMZ Minkyung Company. In 1968 he was promoted to a People's Army Major, and in the same year served as a Lieutenant Officer of the Military Armistice Commission. In 1976, he was appointed commander of the Supreme Guard Command. In February 1989, he was a general of the People's Army, and Deputy Director, People's Armed Forces. From September 1990 to September 1992, he served as the representative of the Inter-Korean High-Level Talks (1st ~ 8th). From March to August 1992, he served as North Korean Chairman of the Military Subcommittee (1st ~ 7th). In May 1992 he served as a member of the South-North Military Joint Committee. In September 1998 he served as the tenth delegate of the Supreme People's Assembly. He has been the twelfth delegate since April 2009. In April 2000, he served as the senior representative of the inter-Korean summit.

    General officers from the two Koreas met on May 17-19 at Panmunjom truce village in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The three-day gathering was the third of its kind since June 2004 and the fourth since the inter-Korean summit in 2000. The five-member ROK delegation was led by MND Policy and Planning DG Army Major General Han Min-koo. The DPRK delegation, also consisting of five members, was led by KPA Lieutenant General Kim Yong-chol.

    From March 2006 to December 2007, he served as the Lieutenant General of the People's Army, serving as the North Korean representative (3 ~ 7). He was promoted to the People 's Army List, and was the Director General of the General Staff of the KPA.

    Nodong Sinmun Online, 29 March 2013 was the first time that the North Korean media identified the existence of the Reconnaissance General Bureau and Gen. Kim Yong-chol as its director. His ties to Kim Jong-un allegedly go back to the early 2000s, when he oversaw Kim’s education at Kim Il-sung Military University. Before that, he was in the Guard Command and served as a bodyguard to Kim Jong-il.

    He was thought to be the mastermind of the events of the Cheonan warship's sinking, the provocation of Yanping Island by force, and the attack of the Nonghyup's computer system. While there has been speculation over the relationship between Kim Yongchol and Kim Jong-un in recent years, given the former’s demotion and re-promotion, he was a lead voice during the tensions of March/April 2013. In early March, he announced North Korea’s abrogation of the armistice. He is also one of the four military officers in the photograph of Kim Jong-un’s military briefing on March 29, 2013. Kim Yong-chol’s long-time relationship with Kim Jong-un likely provides him with a private channel of communication, especially on issues related to South Korea and in times of crisis.

    In January 2016, he became the Korean Workers' Party Minister of the Central Committee, United Front Work Department after Kim Yang Jian died in a car accident. In May 2016, he was elected as a member of the Seventh Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party, a member of the Political Bureau, the Central Military Committee of the Korean Workers' Party, and vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party. On February 24, 2018, he participated in the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang as a member of the Korean Olympic delegation.

    In January 2019, former North Korean intelligence chief and current senior deputy to Kim Jong-un, Kim Yong-chol, visited Washington, where he met in the Oval Office with President Trump and with other senior U.S. government officials. Kim Yong-chol had been designated to be North Korea's counterpart to Secretary of State Pompeo on issues involving the United States. Lieutenant General Kim Yong-chol had been the head of North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau. KIM, Yong Chol (a.k.a. KIM, Yong-Chol; a.k.a. KIM, Young-Cheol; a.k.a. KIM, Young-Chol; a.k.a. KIM, Young-Chul); DOB circa 1947; alt. DOB circa 1946; POB Pyongan-Pukto, North Korea.

    One cloud over diplomatic engagement was the subsequent disappearance of Kim Yong-chol, North Korean counterpart of Secretary of State Pompeo, and Kim Hyok-chol, counterpart of U.S. Representative for North Korea Policy, Steve Biegun. The disappearance, and later reappearance of Kim Hyok-chol, raised questions about the prospects for serious future engagement. South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo cited an unidentified source that Kim Yong Chol had been sentenced to hard labor and ideological re-education over the failed summit in Hanoi. The newspaper also reported that senior envoy Kim Hyok Chol, who was involved in pre-summit working-level talks with American officials, was executed with four other officials from the North’s Foreign Ministry for betraying Kim Jong Un after being won over by the United States.

    Kim Hyok Chol was reportedly shot dead at Mirim Airport near Pyongyang after his return in March, the daily "Chosun Ilbo" reported. In the past, however, South Korean reports of executions in North Korea have sometimes been wrong. Kim Hyok-chol had not been seen in public, but "sources" said his was alive. Indeed, although he had been reported as purged over the failed nuclear summit with Washington, Kim Yong Chol was shown in state media on 03 June 2019 enjoying a concert near leader Kim Jong Un.

  • North Korea Cyber Attacks: A New Asymmetrical Military Strategy Donghui Park - JUNE 28, 2016
  • Office 91
    Unit 110 + Bureau 121

    In North Korea, hackers are part of the military forces. In 2013, leader Kim Jong-un said that cyber warfare, along with nuclear weapons and missiles, are an “all-purpose sword” that guarantees the military’s strike capabilities. Given its continuing political and socio-economic isolation, North Korea's military has shifted its focus towards forms of asymmetric negation, probing any vulnerability in the US-ROK alliance in order to counter its qualitatively superior technological advantages. In addition to nuclear and ballistic missile programs, North Korea has been developing cyber-related offensive military capabilities.

    North Korean cyberwarfare agencies, part of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, conduct malicious cyber activities thatr are posing a threat to the entire world. In 2009, South Korean National Intelligence Service and the Defense Security Command reported that Unit 110 intercepted confidential defence strategy plans, including OPLAN 5027 detailing US-ROK responses to potential North Korean provocations. In the same year, North Korean hackers reportedly stole information from the South Korean Chemical Accidents Response Information System developed by the National Institute of Environmental Research under the Ministry of Environment after infiltrating the ROK Third Army headquarters' computer network and using a password to access CARIS' Center for Chemical Safety Management.

    They have conducted distributed denial-of-service attacks against four dozen targets in South Korea and the US in 2009, as well as "Ten Days of Rain" DDoS attacks targeting South Korean government websites and networks of the US Forces Korea (USFK) lasting for 10 days in 2011.

    In January 2020 a Russian cyber security firm said that a North Korea-sponsored cybercrime group, Lazarus, had stolen cryptocurrency using the Telegram messaging app. In December 2019, Microsoft in the U.S. sued a North Korean hacking group for allegedly stealing user information.

    The 2014 Defense White Paper from the Ministry of National Defense in South Korea states that, “North Korea currently operates about 6,000 cyber warfare troops and conducts cyber warfare, including the interruption of military operations and attacks against major national infrastructure, to cause psychological and physical paralysis in the South.”

    Donghui Park noted that the "RGB formed “Office 91” as the headquarters of North Korea’s hacking operations. Office 91 has four subordinate organizations. First, Unit 110, also known as Technology Reconnaissance Team, was suspected of carrying out the July 2009 DDoS attacks against South Korea and the US Second, Unit 35, the Central Party’s Investigations Department, is the smallest group, but is a highly capable cyber unit with both internal security functions and external offensive cyber capabilities. Third, the North Korean People’s Army Joint Chiefs Cyber Warfare Unit 121 has over 600 hackers specializing in disabling South Korea’s military command, control, and communication networks in case of armed conflict. Finally, the Enemy Secret Department Cyber Psychological Warfare Unit 204 has about 100 hackers and specializes in cyber elements of information warfare."

    North Korea’s growing cyber capability emerged most starkly in 2013. South Korea suffered a series of cyberattacks that damaged its commercial and media networks, and disrupted banking services. Despite limited Internet capacity in the North Korea, defectors and security experts point to an elite cyber warfare unit known as “Bureau 121” as the source of these attacks. Chilbosan Hotel in Shenyang, one of Liaoning Hongziang's joint ventures with the DPRK, is alleged to be the staging area for Bureau 121, a group of North Korean hackers. It has been widely reported that Bureau 121 may have been responsible for the 2014 Sony hack. The cyber-attack is estimated to have cost Sony hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

    For North Korea, one of the most important purposes of training hackers is to complete the final stage of war preparations. The North’s basic military strategy consists of three principles — preemptive surprise attacks, blitzkrieg tactics based on quick and decisive battles, and hybrid warfare. In hybrid warfare, the state seeks to win a victory both in the front and rear. In terms of old military strategies, regular forces would attack along the battlefront, while others would dig underground tunnels to harass the enemy’s rear. But today, North Korea chooses to wage cyber warfare in order to collapse and disrupt the enemy simply with a button. For that reason, the country is known to have nurtured specialists on cyber terrorism since the 1990s.

    It is known that North Korea has two cyber warfare organs — the Enemy Collapse Sabotage Bureau under the military and the General Bureau of Reconnaissance. The former collects internal information to control local residents, while the latter is in charge of hacking campaigns, in which it breaks into security systems to steal sensitive information. This General Bureau of Reconnaissance was pinpointed as the perpetrator of the distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attacks on 35 websites of major institutions in South Korea and the U.S. in 2009.

    To train hackers or “cyber warriors” systematically, North Korea is working hard on education for gifted children. In the North, cyber warriors are groomed from childhood. Would-be cyber agents are selected among those aged 14 or 15 or even younger. They are taught at Kumsong Middle School No. 1 and No. 2 and then enter Kim Il-sung University or Kim Chaek University of Technology for further education. After graduation, they are assigned to the cyber warfare unit under the General Bureau of Reconnaissance to work as hackers.

    North Korea cultivates “cyber elites” systematically by selecting science prodigies and giving them intensive cyber security training. In addition, some of the brilliant graduates of Kim Il-sung Military University are selected to receive computer training before being appointed as hacker unit officers. After going through rigorous training, hackers are entitled to various privileges.

    Hackers can enter the party and have a successful career as well. They are proud of being part of the advance guard that defends the country. Hackers enjoy various benefits ordinary citizens can’t even think of. They are given chances to study or work abroad and also provided with economic incentives. For example, if they successfully hack a cryptocurrency exchange with a system they have developed, they can get 10 percent of the gains. It’s no wonder that hackers are launching cyber attacks competitively.

    North Korean hackers can secure the livelihood of the top one percent of society. In fact, their hacking skills are highly sophisticated. One of the most sensational cyber attacks linked to North Korea was the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures, the distributor of a film entitled The Interview that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. At the time, the hacking destroyed data on 70 percent of the company’s computers. In 2016, North Korean hackers made off with 81 million US dollars through a cyber theft of the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Lately, North Korea has conducted hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges.

    With the value of cryptocurrency rising, North Korea has attacked crypto exchanges to seize virtual currencies including bitcoin. In 2017, the National Police Agency Cyber Bureau in South Korea said that North Korea made ten hacking attempts against four cryptocurrency exchanges in the South. North Korean hackers are suspected of being behind the 2017 cyber attack using the WannaCry computer virus. It is a sort of ransomware, which refers to malicious software that encrypts computer systems, leaving them inaccessible to users and demands money to decrypt them.

    North Korean hackers are being used as a means of earning foreign currency to maintain the impoverished regime. According to a report by the U.N. Security Council, North Korea illegally gleaned US$570 million by hacking crypto exchanges in East Asia five times between 2017 and September of 2018. As a Russian security firm recently said, the North is stealing digital currencies using new hacking methods. Along with Russia, China and Iran, North Korea is included in the list of countries that pose a grave cyber threat. These countries are linked to some of the most infamous hacking incidents in the past ten years.

    The U.S. has been sanctioning North Korean hackers, including Park Jin-hyok who caused great damage by hacking computers all around the world for three years starting in 2014. In response to the DPRK's cyber attack on Sony Pictures, the President signed an Executive order, Executive Order 13687, on January 6th, 2015, granting the Treasury Department the authority to impose sanctions against agencies, instrumentalities, officials and entities controlled by the Government of North Korea and the Worker's Party of Korea.

    Executive Order 13687 represented a significant broadening of Treasury's authority to increase financial pressure on the DPRK and to further isolate it from the international financial system. For the first time, Treasury has the authority to designate individuals and entities based solely on their status as officials, agencies, or controlled entities of the Government of the DPRK. Treasury also now has the authority to designate those providing material support to the Government of the DPRK.

    Simultaneous to the issue of this Executive order, Treasury designated three entities and ten individuals, whom Secretary Jack Lew described as ``critical North Korean operatives.'' These include the Reconnaissance General Bureau, known as RGB, which is the DPRK's primary intelligence organization, which is responsible for many of its cyber operations; the Korean Mining Development Trading Corporation, also known as KOMID, which is the DPRK's primary arms dealer; and ten officials of the DPRK Government, including eight KOMID officials based throughout the world.

    The U.S. regards all hacking attempts as an attack to national security. So it follows the hackers’ tracks, reveals their identities and openly searches for them. In September of 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice charged North Korean computer programmer Park Jin-hyok with conspiracy to conduct computer intrusions and wire fraud. In September of 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department decided to impose sanctions on three North Korean hacking groups under the General Bureau of Reconnaissance.

    Actually, however, it is difficult to punish the hackers. International cooperation is necessary to come up with ways to block North Korea’s cyber crime operations. North Korea is acquiring hard currency through illegal means and stealing important security information. It seems necessary for the international community to devise proactive countermeasures against North Korean hacking attacks, which is a serious threat to global cyberspace.

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