South Dakota computers targeted by North Korea

Published: Dec. 22, 2019 at 5:36 PM CST
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North Korea has taken an interest in South Dakota.

A report from the Department of Homeland Security, obtained by ABC News, shows a "sporadic but persistent" attack by North Korean hackers to gain access to government systems. Between 2017 and 2019 the document identifies 142 attempted communications between North Korea and the South Dakota state network. Officials say all of those attacks were unsuccessful.

"Based on an analysis of this and past communication traffic patterns by state network administrators, we assess that potential North Korean cyber actors may be using automated scanning and surveillance tools to attempt malicious communication with state-administered networks for unknown reasons," according to the intel alert, reviewed by ABC News. "Since late 2017, North Korea-associated IP addresses have repeatedly attempted to establish communication with South Dakota state network-administered websites and IPs, despite … being geo-blocked at the network perimeter, according to a body of DHS field reporting derived from state network information."

South Dakota Officials have been alerted to the threat. In statement to ABC News, South Dakota Public Safety Secretary Craig Price says the state is taking appropriate action.

"We do not discuss specific cases for security reasons, but cyberattacks on South Dakota's state government computer network are nothing new and not unique to South Dakota. Most importantly, there have been no intrusions. That is a credit to the state Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, the Office of Homeland Security and others who work on cybersecurity every day. We take all threats against our computer system seriously and we support Gov. Kristi Noem's efforts to further develop the cybersecurity industry in South Dakota."