North Korean hackers break into South Korean chip makers

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North Korean hackers have infiltrated South Korean chipmakers, South Korea's spy agency has announced.

According to the agency, North Korea is trying to create semiconductors for weapons programs, a month after President Yoon Suk Yeol warned that such attacks could be carried out in order to interfere in the upcoming election.

Last year, North Korea hacked the email address of an aide to President Yoon.

"We believe that North Korea is likely preparing to produce its own semiconductors in the face of difficulties in purchasing them, due to sanctions," North Korean authorities said in a statement.

North Korea is alleged to have hacked into the servers of two chip companies in December 2023 and in February, stealing product models and photos of their facilities.

It is not known if North Korea stole anything in the latest attack.

North Korea has always denied involvement in cyberattacks, but the South has blamed North Korean hackers for stealing large sums of money, including cryptocurrencies, in order to "fund the regime's nuclear weapons programs."

North Korea is estimated to have stolen up to $3 billion since 2016. It is also said to have carried out attacks with the aim of stealing state secrets, including details of advanced weapons technology.

The country, which is subject to extreme international sanctions, is becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way it carries out cyber attacks.