Information Warfare: North Korea Is Eager To Deceive

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January 30, 2016: South Korea revealed that since the 2010 North Korean attacks (that sank a warship and caused some casualties and property damage on a South Korean island off the west coast) North Korea has been using a lot more deception in its electronic communications. A major reason for this is that North Korea cannot afford to keep its communications gear up-to-date. While South Korea has been able to afford modern tactical (short range) radios for their troops North Korea has not. The big difference here is that the modern radios use encryption while the older equipment does not. Thus a lot of North Korean communications along the DMZ (the border zone) are unencrypted. North Korea found that South Korea was spending a lot more time and effort to eavesdrop on these communications and use advanced analysis techniques to get a better idea of what was going on in the North Korean military. To counter this North Korea began a lot more false and deliberately misleading messages to make the South Korean eavesdropping less useful. North Korea deception efforts even extended to deceiving efforts to use traffic analysis (monitoring patterns of use and tracking the locations of users).

All these North Korean efforts are very manpower intensive, but lacking much fuel, spare parts or ammo for field training someone decided that the troop, especially those in communications and intelligence could be kept busy, and gain some useful experience, by carrying out a lot more of these old-school deception efforts.

North Korea has also been using more high-tech deception, often involving photoshopped (digitally altered) digital pictures and videos. This despite the fact that South Korea has plenty of experts and locally made software that can quickly identify even the most painstaking use of photoshop edits. Nevertheless these fakes fool at lot of people in the mass media and the fake photo gets more attention than the correction that comes later.

 


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