North Korean hackers allegedly probing U.S. utilities for weaknesses

The South Korean Foreign Ministry said the upcoming meeting would prepare for U.S. President Donald Trump's scheduled visit to South Korea in November, while consulting on major issues of the two countries, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear program. As part of the exercise, two American B-1 bombers and South Korean and Japanese fighter jets flew over the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. bombers took off from the Andersen Air Force base in Guam, the U.S. Pacific territory that North Korea singled out as a possible target for a missile strike over the summer, as President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un engaged in bombastic rhetoric and brinkmanship.

(Korean Central News Agency) In this handout photo released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, South Korea's Hyunmu-2 ballistic missile is fired during an exercise aimed to counter North Korea's nuclear test on September 4, 2017 in East Coast, South Korea.

However, the South Korean defence ministry has refused to comment about this allegation.

"While I would not characterize them as the best in the world, they are among the best in the world and the best organized", Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, told the Senate a year ago.

They staged a simulated air-to-ground missile firing drill with two F-15K fighters over the East Sea and flew across the peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported.

"I suppose this must be in reference to pre-empting an imminent North Korean nuclear attack", says regional security analyst Daniel Pinkston with Troy University in Seoul. In a speech at the United Nations in September, the US President accused the North Korean leader Kim of being "on a suicide mission" - while Kim responded by vowing to "tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire". While early 80 percent of the documents had not yet been identified, they reportedly included contingency plans for South Korean special forces and information on military facilities and power plants, it said.

While the attention Wednesday was on air power, upcoming US-South Korea naval exercises could further aggravate tensions.

The information, that included wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea, was from the country's defence ministry, according to Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker.

North Korea has yet to comment on either the bombing drills or the hacking claims.

  • Aubrey Nash