North Korea are trying to loot Britain’s banks as the despotic state tries to fund its nuclear ambitions following losses inflicted by sanctions.
Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ, warned North Korea is trying to become a ‘Premier League’ player in cyber-warfare with an attack on Britain’s financial sector.
As North Korea tries to build up its nuclear capabilities, Mr Hannigan warned: ‘They’re after our money.’
Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ, warned North Korea is trying to become a ‘Premier League’ player in cyber-warfare with an attack on Britain’s financial sector
He said that while Kim Jong Un’s military weapons were not a direct threat to the UK, its cyber warfare was.
He cited examples of its WannaCry ransomware attack – which encrypts victims’ files then demands a fee to unlock them – which in May crippled the NHS’s computer systems and phone lines.
Speaking to the Sunday Times Mr Hannigan said: ‘Their missiles are not going to reach the UK but their cyber-attacks did reach the NHS and other parts of Europe.
‘As sanctions bite further and North Korea becomes more desperate for foreign currency, they will get more aggressive and continue to come after the finance sector. They’re after our money.’
The UN has brought in sanctions against North Korea in an attempt to force the secretive state to stop its weapons programme.
This has led to it stepping up its cyber warfare capabilities.
The reclusive regime is improving its hacking through collaboration with Iran and criminal networks operating in southeast Asia and China, the expert warned.
He told the newspaper: They are not in the Premier League yet – not in the top five nations – but they are getting there.’
The former head of GCHQ says Pyongyang is targeting the British financial sector to fund its nuclear ambitions
Mr Hannigan said that while Kim Jong Un’s military weapons were not a direct threat to the UK, its cyber warfare was
Mr Hannigan, who is currently Chairman of the European Advisory Board of BlueteamGlobal, also warned about Russia’s increasingly targeting political outcomes with ‘disinformation campaigns’.
An FBI inquiry is currently looking into alleged Russian meddling in the US election that saw former TV personality and billionaire Donald Trump elected as president.
Mr Hannigan stepped down from his role as director of the UK Government Communications Headquarters in January, citing ‘personal reasons’.
His tenure at the Cheltenham-based agency started in November 2014, following a period of intense scrutiny of its work sparked by revelations by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
Earlier this year Mr Hannigan said it was the national duty of parents to ensure youngsters enjoyed more screen time as opposed to letting them ‘mooch around on the streets’.
The father-of-two said the UK risked falling behind, warning that Britain was already struggling to keep up with rivals due to a lack of engineers and computer scientists.