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NSC member: A law-abiding North Korea could be a cybersecurity powerhouse

North Korea fans cheer at the finish during the Men's Slalom on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Yongpyong Alpine Centre on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
North Korea fans cheer at the finish during the Men's Slalom at the Winter Olympic Games Photo: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Tyson Meadors, the director for cybersecurity policy for the National Security Council (NSC,) said Thursday that if North Korea ever decided to integrate with the world economy, it could be an outsize cybersecurity powerhouse.

Quote"If we brought North Korea into the rest of the economy of the world... they could be a relatively complementary partner in the global economy"
— Tyson Meadors at a conference held by Association for Federal Information Resources Management and US Cyber Challenge

Why it matters: Think of it as the carrot to Trump's stick. Meadors is offering that North Korea could have a place in the world if it retreats from persistent nuclear brinksmanship and joins the international community. Plus, in this outcome, the Hermit Nation's considerable investment in hackers would not have been in vain.

Could it happen? Possibly. Meadors noted later in the speech that many smaller countries, particularly Israel and Estonia, have considerable cybersecurity industries. Israel's is largely borne from its military elite cyber forces, the venerable Unit 8200.

One last thing: "Cybersecurity talent can be used to many, many, many, many different ends. We're finding that countries that wield that power responsibly, that teach their workforce how to do so ethically - good things come with that," said Meadors.

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