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North Korea Targeted U.S. Electric Power Companies

The cybersecurity company FireEye says in a new report to private clients, obtained exclusively by NBC News, that hackers linked to North Korea recently targeted U.S. electric power companies with spearphishing emails.

The emails used fake invitations to a fundraiser to target victims, FireEye said.

A victim who downloaded the invitation attached to the email would also be downloading malware into his or her computer network, according to the FireEye report.

The company did not dispute NBC’s characterization of the report, but declined to comment.

The FireEye report comes on the heels of an NBCNews.com report in August that U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly worried that North Korea will lash out against enhanced U.S. pressure by using its fearsome cyber capabilities to attack U.S. infrastructure.

American intelligence officials rank North Korea behind Russia, China and Iran among U.S. adversaries in ability to inflict damage via cyberattacks.

In 2014, U.S. intelligence officials say, North Korean hackers attacked Sony Pictures, destroying corporate computers and disclosing sensitive company data. The U.S. accused North Korea of carrying it out in response to a film lampooning North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Experts worry that North Korea could deploy the same techniques to inflict harm not just on one company, but on the American economy.

 

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