North Korea suspected of planting a virus in South Korea's bus navigation apps
Thomas Reed, Feb. 11, 2019, 9:13 a.m.
A virus suspected of having been planted by North Korean hackers has been found in some smartphone bus navigation apps in South Korea.
Computer security firm McAfee said Sunday that it discovered malicious codes in four Android bus navigation apps for Daegu, Gwangju, Jeonju and Changwon. McAfee said the malicious codes were designed to siphon information to a server operated by hackers and added that they went beyond mere phishing and were targeted to steal military and political information.
The Android apps have been available on Google Play since 2013, and the malicious codes were planted during regular updates since Aug. 9 last year. They have now all been patched.
McAfee did not pinpoint North Korea as the source of the cyber attacks, but South Korean cyber security experts said the 42 keywords implanted in them -- like "defense," "tank," "National Intelligence Service," "North Korea" and "Moon Jae-in" -- point to North Korea.
Last month, reporters covering the Unification Ministry received suspicious e-mails containing malicious codes, raising suspicions that the North was behind the attempts. Around 200 North Korean hacker groups are believed to be operating overseas.