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N. Korea tries to use artificial intelligence to write malicious software: US official

N. Korea tries to use artificial intelligence to write malicious software: US official

Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger speaks during a briefing in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, March 21, 2022. AFP-Yonhap

The United States has observed North Korea and other countries trying to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to accelerate writing malicious software as part of their illicit cyber activities, a senior Washington official said Wednesday.

Anne Neuberger, deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies on the National Security Council, made the remarks, saying addressing the North Korean hacking challenge is a “priority” for the U.S. government.

“We have observed some North Korean and other nation-state criminal actors try to use AI models to help accelerate writing malicious software and finding systems to exploit,” she said during a press briefing on international cooperation in countering threats posed by cyber hackers and disinformation.

To tackle such cyber challenges, the U.S. has focused on incentivizing and jumpstarting “defensive hackers” using AI to build cybersecurity defenses and on the capacity building to ensure AI defense “stays one step ahead of AI on the offense.”

“There’s a lot of work to be done together,” she said.

Neuberger pointed out that North Korean operatives’ hacking of cryptocurrency around the infrastructure, including in Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong, is a “major source of revenue” for the recalcitrant regime to bankroll its missile program.

“As a result, addressing North Korean hacking has been a priority of the U.S.,” she said. “We formed a trilateral with Japan and South Korea to bring our governments together to tackle that together.”

The official enumerated a series of efforts to stop the North’s cybercrimes, including sanctioning crypto exchanges used by the North to launder stolen funds from crypto infrastructure.

South Korea’s state intelligence agency has said that the North stole a total of $700 million worth of cryptocurrency last year, equivalent to the money that would enable the country to fire 30 intercontinental ballistic missiles. (Yonhap)

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