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North Korea boosts cyber army to 6,000 troops to cause ‘physical and psychological paralysis’

North Korea has boosted its “cyber army” in a bid to cause “physical and psychological paralysis” in the South.

According to the South Korean Defence Ministry’s latest white paper, the hermit state’s military unit, which is dedicated to cyber activities, is now double that of South Korea’s.

“North Korea is currently running its 6,000 (member) workforce for cyber warfare and performing cyberattacks for physical and psychological paralysis inside South Korea such as causing troubles formilitary operations and national infrastructures,” said the South Korean Defence Ministry.

In 2013, South Korea blamed Pyongyang for the raft of crippling cyber attacks on its banks and broadcasters.

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North Korea is doubling its skilled cyber security staffers

NORTH KOREA IS REPORTEDLYdoubling the number of its highly skilled cyber soldiers while still denying claims that it ever maliciously hacked anyone.

In case you missed it, North Korea has been accused of hacking like a dry cough. The country has had more fingers pointed at it than a button, and has got rather comfortable with denyingaccusations that it has done things like tear apart Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Now it is accused of doubling its cyber warfare posse, called Bureau 121, which the last time anyone checked was made up of some 3,000 skilled staffers.

Today, according to reports, including this one on Reuters, that number is 6,000 if South Korea is to be believed.

A white paper from the South Korean Defence Ministry said that the enlarged unit will be used to bring mischief on the South, and possibly other countries and their utilities.

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An Extremist Muslim Hacking Group Appears To Have Accidentally Attacked A Small Trip-Planning Website

A bus website in southwest England has been attacked by hackers who appear to be from an extremist Muslim cyberterrorism group. It’s an odd choice of target, and some think the organization might have confused the website with a more prominent site, the Bristol Post reports.

TravelWest.info was hit by a cyberattack on New Year’s Day by Darkshadow of the “Arab Security Team.” The AST took control of the website on Thursday. TravelWest.info provides listings of bus times and routes for trip planning.

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Ratcliffe Chairs House Cybersecurity Subcommittee

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Cybersecurity Committee, has named fellow Texas Republican and new member John Ratcliffe to chair the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies subcommittee in the new Congress, which convenes Tuesday (Jan. 6).     Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney and mayor, succeeds Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.). Ratcliffe, a conservative with Tea Party backing, won a primary challenge to Rep. Ralph Hall last May and went on to win in the general election. As a U.S. attorney in the Bush administration, Ratcliffe was a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Terrorism and National Security, chief of anti-terrorism and national security for the Eastern District of Texas, and prosecuted cyber crimes.

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Cyber Security Professionals Predict Their Biggest Concerns For 2015

With 2014 in the rear view mirror, it is fun to look forward to the year ahead and see if we can predict what may happen over the next twelve months. At the same time, predictions can prove to be very useful for businesses that are planning budgets and spending. So every December, cyber security experts begin to make their predictions on the future of information and network security.

“While no one can totally reliably predict the future, there are often good indications in what we see that provide likely directions for the coming year,” said Geoff Webb, senior director, security strategy with NetIQ. “For example, it was pretty clear at the end of last year, after the details of the Target TGT -1.79% breach become public, that it wasn’t going to be a one-off incident.  Rather, it was the opening salvo in what has proven to be a year-long attack on the retail industry.”

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Sony hack renews cybersecurity push for ‘zombie bill’

Washington (CNN) — White House Economic Council Director Jeff Zients pointed fingers at Congress on Thursday for not acting fast enough on cybersecurity legislation, in the wake of news that North Korea was behind the Sony Entertainment cyberattack.

“We’re doing what we can within the executive authorities of the President to do what we can across the federal government — both protect the federal government assets and to work with the private sector — but in order to take this to the next level we need legislation,” he said at a Politico breakfast.

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Obama says Sony hack not an act of war

(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama moved to prevent U.S. anger at North Korea from spiralling out of control on Sunday by saying the massive hacking of Sony Pictures was not an act of war but instead was cyber-vandalism.

Washington’s longstanding dispute with North Korea, which for years has centred on its nuclear weapons programme, has entered new territory with the accusation that Pyongyang carried out an assault on a major Hollywood entertainment company.

Obama and his advisers are weighing how to punish North Koreaafter the FBI concluded on Friday that Pyongyang was responsible. North Korea has denied it was to blame.

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McCain to hold cybersecurity hearing after Sony attack

Washington (CNN) — Sen. John McCain, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will hold a hearing into the cyber attack on Sony Pictures in the first two weeks of the next Congress.

McCain also called the cyber attack “an act of war” and said that while the U.S. shouldn’t respond with rockets and missiles, the U.S. should hit North Korea with a cyber attack of its own.

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Sony’s conundrum: Whether to release ‘The Interview’ online

After deciding against premiering the film to theaters, the movie studio could make it available online. Here are a few possibilities (and a few counterarguments).

Seth Rogen and James Franco’s cancelled comedy film The Interview has caused Sony Pictures one of the biggest headaches this side of the DMZ.

Having pulled the film in the face of terrorist threats, the movie studio could still recoup its investment if it chooses to by releasing it online through YouTube, iTunes or though the file sharing service BitTorrent. Sony also owns the little known streaming service, Crackle, which would get a bit publicity boost by showcasing a high-profile Hollywood premiere.

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Why cyber warfare is so attractive to small nations

Enabled by Internet connectivity, cyber war provides more bang for the buck than investment in conventional weapons.

Last week news broke that North Korea, which is believed to be responsible for a massive cyber attack against Sony SNE -2.65% , may have as many as 1,800 cyber warriors. That may seem like a large figure for the nation of 24.9 million people, especially considering that Pyongyang isn’t exactly known for its centers of higher learning. Yet many small nation-states—even those that are in regions that lack universities with notable computer science programs—are finding that cyber war provides more bang for the buck than investment in conventional weapons.

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