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“Their capabilities are just not that great,” said Tom Chapman, director of cyber operations at Edgewave, a San Diego-based security firm, in an interview earlier this week. Chapman is a former U.S. Navy cyber-warfare commander. “Of the hacks we know [launched by North Korea], almost all were denial-of-service attacks.”

Unit 121, as the North Korean military’s cyber warfare group is known, certainly has the capabilities to conduct denial-of-service attacks, said Chapman. But he was dubious it could do more than that. “We haven’t seen [Unit 121] do this before, we haven’t seen it do a crippling attack.”

Chapman also wondered why North Korea would risk an attack during one of its periodic attempts at slightly warmer relations with the West. “They just released three hostages,” said Chapman, talking about the freeing of three Americans — two of them in early November — who had been imprisoned on spying charges. “[A hack] would be counter-productive in the eyes of the [North Korean] government at this point.”

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Article by: Greg Keizer, Computerworld