The warning comes as researchers and consultants establish North Korea as an more and more aggressive menace in our on-line world.
Hackers in Pyongyang are believed to be behind a sequence of refined cyber heists focusing on the SWIFT international monetary messaging service between 2015 and 2016, and the WannaCry ransomware which hit the NHS final yr.
A message issued by the the Division for Homeland Safety and the US Pc Emergency Readiness Workforce (US-CERT) warned that “at high-profile occasions, cyber activists could make the most of the big viewers to unfold their message”.
:: North Korean athletes arrive for Winter Olympics
South Korea is likely one of the most digitally linked nations on the planet, partly due to the density of its city centres and the excessive web speeds accessible to them.
It’s usually thought of to have the 11th highest GDP of all of the world’s nations, pushed in a big half by its know-how business and exports.
Cybercrime within the nation is commonly alleged to be orchestrated by the North Korean regime, though Pyongyang has referred to as for “unification” through the Winter Olympics, and extra completely afterwards.
The US-CERT message warned nonetheless that cybercriminals have been more likely to be energetic through the video games, stating: “Cybercriminals could try to steal personally identifiable info or harvest customers’ credentials for monetary achieve.”
It additionally warned of the “chance that cellular or different communications will likely be monitored”.
US-CERT inspired guests to guard themselves in opposition to the dangers related to transportable gadgets reminiscent of smartphones and tablets, by:
:: Switching off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections when not in use.
:: Utilizing a bank card to pay for on-line items and providers.
:: When utilizing a public or unsecured wi-fi connection, keep away from utilizing websites and functions that require private info like log-ins.
:: Replace cellular software program.
:: Use sturdy PINs and passwords.
Analysis by cybersecurity agency FireEye’s Luke McNamara described North Korea’s growing curiosity in cryptocurrencies as an asset class, with the worth of Bitcoin rocketing over the course of final yr.
Mr McNamara notes how the secretive North Korean company recognized informally as Workplace 39 had been a important asset of the state by producing black market revenues since not less than the 1970s.
It’s estimated to carry $1bn a yr by way of illicit actions, together with counterfeiting US greenback forex, producing narcotics, and even smuggling gold.
FireEye’s analysis famous how escalating financial sanctions in opposition to North Korea have been accompanied by a surge in hacking campaigns focusing on South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges.