Threat Intelligence, Network Security

Obama ramped up cyberattacks to disrupt North Korea missile program

The dossier of military programs and actions underway bequeathed to Donald Trump when President Obama left administration included a three-year series of cyberattacks meant to disrupt North Korea's growing missile program.

Proponents of the campaign point to a number of missile launches that have failed—either missing their mark or exploding in midair—as its success while skeptics say that incompetence and other factors are as likely responsible for the failures and note that the country has successfully launched three missiles recently, the New York Times reported.

Shortly after North Korea conducted a successful, powerful nuclear test in 2013, the Pentagon took the wraps off of what it termed a “left of launch” program that Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, would use “cyberwarfare, directed energy and electronic attack” to foul the country's missile launches, the Times said.

Whether the Trump administration will ramp up the program or choose to rely on more conventional response to the North Korean threat – or a mix of both – is unclear, though, as the Times pointed out, Trump, when faced with a threat from Kim Jong-un that the country would soon test an intercontinental ballistic missile, did tweet out, “It won't happen!” 

And the report cited other Trump administration and military officials as saying a number of actions and approaches were being considered.

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