Hacking
The rise of state-sponsored hacking is giving sleepless nights to the US governmentiStock

North Korea, Russia, China and Iran pose the biggest threat to cyberspace according to an official of the US government's cybersecurity division. Pyongyang in particular is on the US' radar for allegedly executing big hacks in the past.

"We have characterised... four countries... that have great capabilities that have posed threats over time: China, Russia, North Korea and Iran," said Christopher Painter, coordinator of cyber issues at the US Department of State. "From North Korea particularly, we've certainly seen a lot of activity over the years directed at the US," he added.

The government now wants a mutual cooperation among nation states to take on anonymous groups from these countries that have "great capabilities" to conduct hacking operations especially on financial and military data. To take this initiative forward, Washington and Seoul are closely cooperating to respond to such threats especially from North Korea, whose alleged 2014 Sony hack was a "big deal" for raising awareness of the threat from the country.

"The North Korean government after that... that clearly was a very big deal in the US and certainly I know that from South Korea's standpoint, North Korea is one of the primary threats that they see," Painter said.

Kim Jong-un's government has been accused of bolstering state-sponsored hacking in numerous cases related to South Korea, including a recent military cyber command hack. The Bureau 121 which is North Korea's cyberwarfare agency is rumoured to be staffed by some of the country's most talented computer experts and is run by its military.