North Korean hackers could start stealing business secrets

illustration of kim jong un shooting lasers out of his eyes
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As North Korea tries to rev up its economy, it may shift its hacking efforts from financial thievery to stealing intellectual property, China-style. That's according to a contested new theory from cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

Why it matters: North Korea is already one of the "big four" hacking threats — along with China, Russia and Iran — but it currently focuses on cash theft to fill its sanctions-drained coffers. Though experts are mixed on the likelihood Pyongyang's hackers would switch to the model China used to build its domestic industries, most seem to think it's a threat worth keeping an eye on.

Expert Voices

The case for exporting American nuclear reactors to Riyadh

Florida Power and Light workers Juan Madruga (R) and Pehter Rodriguez (L) confer at the Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor Building in Homestead, Florida
The Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor Building in Homestead, Florida. Photo: Rhona Wise/AFP via Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee released a report this week that accuses Trump administration officials of legal and ethical breaches in their pursuit of a nuclear-plant deal with Saudi Arabia.

The big picture: While a nuclear-capable Saudi Arabia is a dangerous prospect — MBS has floated the idea of developing nuclear weapons — it's becoming something of a foregone conclusion. The world's nuclear suppliers are already bidding for the contract to construct Saudi Arabia's first two reactors, with Riyadh having shortlisted bids from not only the U.S., but also France, China, Russia and South Korea.

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