Kim Jung-Un’s beaming grin did the rounds last week as everyone’s (least) favourite dictator watched North Korea’s latest missiles and military force parade in front of him.
We all know Kim loves a missile. The big question is what sort of arsenal does he have at his disposal? He’s fired several medium-range missiles into the Sea of Japan recently, much to the disgust of Shinzo Abe – the Japanese Prime Minister.
Following the Hermit Kingdom’s show of military-might, many in South Korea and the Western world expected another launch attempt, and N.Korea didn’t disappoint. Trouble is the missile was a dud. Not long after the launch the missile took a dive into the sea.
The internet was quick to ridicule Kim Jung-Un following the failed attempt, but a former Foreign Secretary for the United Kingdom has a different stance.
The launch could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is very strong belief that the U.S. — through cyber methods — has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former United Kingdom Foreign Secretary.
Rifkind’s assertion carries even more weight considering the U.S. has deployed a substantial number of warships, with cyber capabilities, to the region.
According to a report in the New York Times U.S. cyber attacks started three years ago at the request of President Obama. Essentially it says that although North Korea’s it not as competent as Russia’s, the soviet-era missiles they’re using had a 13% failure rate, and the North Korean version has failed a staggering 88% of the time. Such a disparity in numbers is difficult to explain without some kind of U.S. intervention.
U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland did little to dampen curiosities when he spoke to Fox News. “We can’t talk about secret intelligence and things that might have been done, covert operations, so I really have no comment.”
Elsewhere in the interview McFarland discussed this new era of cyber attacks that is about to be turned up to 11. “With any country, major country, we are entering a cyber platform, a cyber battlefield. This is where a lot of wars of the future are going to be fought.”
While the U.S. hacking another country’s military intelligence may sound like James Bond esque BS to some, Ken Geers – a cybersecurity expert for Comodo, says this kind of thing goes on all the time. “If you think that war is possible with any given state, you’re going to be trying to prepare for the battle space for conflict. In the internet age, that means hacking.”
Geers is well versed in cyber warfare and concludes that if a war ever broke out between North Korea and the West, the Hermit Kingdom’s restricted internet would be their downfall.
If it ever came to cyberwar between the U.S. and North Korea, it would be an overwhelming victory for the West. The U.S. Cyber Command could wipe out most other countries’ pretty quickly.
Derailing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions is not quite as easy as it sounds. They have multiple launch sites around the country, and have the capability to launch from mobile sites – including submarines.
On top of that, North Korea appear to be determined… like big time. If their recent military parade is anything to go by then they’ve got plenty more missiles to choose from. Although it’s believed they don’t currently have the ability to hit the U.S., it’s feared they’re only a few years away from this scary capability.
Accordingly, the U.S. is going further than just cyberattacks. The White House is also looking at pre-emptive military strike options, most likely from bases in South Korea. U.S. nuclear weapons were removed from South Korea approximately 25 years ago and this is something the Trump administration may look to reinstate. Although such an aggressive move could accelerate an arms race with Kim Jung-Un.
The launch attempt came a day after the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim II Sung.