A United States Cyber Security firm believes that Chinese state sponsored hackers to try and penetrate a US-linked organization that builds missile US missile system in South Korea. Beijing is firmly against the system.
According to the organization’s director, John Hultquist, China never shies from using cyber espionage whenever it feels its interests are at stake.
He added that they have sufficient evidence that at least “one party that has been associated with the missile placements.”
South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that the country’s systems experienced cyber attack last month but would not make it clear whether the THAAD was a target.
With prompt defensive measures, they were able to block the hackers.
But China defended itself from the allegations, with the Foreign Affairs Ministry stating that the country is against all form of cyber attacks.
It said that their position is consistent and are very serious about no hacker activity.
But declining responsibility for the purported cyber attack on the missile doesn’t mean China supports THAAD. In statement, the country called upon the US and South Korea to cancel its deployment. The system is expected to start operating in a few days.
North Korea Hackers?
Journalists inquired from Hultquist whether there is a possibility the attackers could be North Koreans posing as Chinese, a question to which he said they have sufficient evidence to believe their position. Some of the data they rely on include the group’s use of Chinese language.
“We’ve known these actors for several years now and we’ve watched their activities.”
He added that the THAAD system may have been spied on for intelligence gathering rather than disruption.
“If it were done in retaliation we’d expect some sort of follow on disruption or destruction of it, which we didn’t see. Typically, when we see cyber espionage actors, they prefer to stay quiet and remain on target where they can gather as much intelligence as possible,” he said.
How THAAD Works
Abbreviated as THAAD – Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System works by shooting down medium and short-range missile while they are still in their terminal range of flight.
It produces kinetic energy that destroys the incoming warhead.
The altitude that it can reach is 150 km and has a range of 200 km.
This is the mechanism in which it works:
- A missile is launched by the enemy
- This is detected by the Thaad radar system and then relays the information to the command and control
- Thaad command and control instructs the launch of an interceptor missile
- The interceptor missile is fired at the enemy projectile
- The enemy projectile is destroyed in the terminal phase of flight
Previously, the US has deployed the system to Hawaii and Guam so as to be cautious of any attack from North Korea.
Beijing analysts are of the opinion that the US may use THAAD’s powerful radar to monitor activities in China besides it being a counter measure to North Korea’s possible missile attack.
Such a system is feared that it will bring about imbalance in the region and further enhance tensions in the Korean Peninsula. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said that it will not bring about denuclearization or maintain peace in the region.