South Korea Charges That Pyongyang Hackers Stole F-15 Designs

U.S. F-15C Eagle jet fighter / AP
June 13, 2016

North Korean hackers stole U.S. fighter jet designs during a wider cyberattack on a South Korean company, government officials in Seoul announced Monday.

Beginning in 2014, more than 40,000 documents related to defense were stolen from two South Korean conglomerates, Reuters reported. The hack was discovered in February.

Blueprints for an F-15 jet fighter and photos showing parts of unmanned spy planes were among the documents stolen in the breach of Korean Air Lines. The company manufactures parts for Seoul’s military jets, including the F-15, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A South Korean military official said while none of the stolen documents were classified, "the leak will likely have a negligible impact on national security."

The hack was traced back to an IP address located in Pyongyang and targeted software used by private companies and government agencies in South Korea.

Police said North Korea had been extensively planning a "countrywide" cyberattack before the breach was discovered.

North Korean officials have denied involvement in cyberattacks against South Korean officials, but Pyongyang’s hacking capabilities have expanded exponentially during the past few years.

South Korea’s spy agency in March charged that North Korea had escalated cyber attacks attempting to breach the phones of 40 national security officials. North Korea brushed aside the accusations as "fabrication."

U.S. government officials also linked North Korea to the major hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 that led to the cancelation of a comedy portraying Kim Jong Un’s fictional assassination.