Report: North Korea's Bureau 121 scarier than previously thought

North Korea's secretive Bureau 121 is scarier than originally perceived by western cybersecurity experts - and the threat is only growing.

Published Fri, Dec 26 2014 12:41 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:11 PM CST

The North Korean government has steadily increased capabilities of its secretive Bureau 121 cyberespionage unit, but very little is known about how it operates. A North Korean defector recently shed light on the division of specialized "cyber warriors," with specific training of programming languages, operating systems research, and IT network security vulnerabilities.

Report: North Korea's Bureau 121 scarier than previously thought |

By the time hackers are officially hired by Bureau, some candidates have almost nine years of training, according to Jang Se-yul, a graduate of the top North Korean engineering college. Bureau 121 cybercriminals - and their families - are moved to Pyongyang and become among the country's top 1 percent, including a high salary, free apartment, and free Internet access.

The US and other western nations are focused more on limiting cyberespionage, especially from North Korea, Iran, China and Russia - but the cybercriminals have had a step up on us for quite some time. North Korea understands it wouldn't be able to win a conventional war against political rivals, but is able to cause chaos using their hacker branch.

An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown looking to cover everything from consumer electronics to enterprise cloud technology. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the West Coast News Editor and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog,, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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