Collaboration between North Korea and Iran has a long and well-outlined history.
The common will to grow politically and strategically in the world, has pushed them to a profound technological and strategic collaboration.
We must not be surprised, therefore, that the most developing sectors have been armaments and cyber warfare.
In the 2011 , China blocked publication of another damning UN report which said the North almost certainly has more undisclosed enrichment-related facilities.
It went on to voice concerns that North Korea might “transfer fissile materials or the means of producing them” to foreign countries — such as Iran.
Iranian delegations have visited North Korea in the past to observe missile tests and exchange technology.
This newest UN report, buried by China, affirms U.S. concerns about Chinese willingness to look the other way when it comes to North Korean nuclear activities.
Diplomatic cables published through WikiLeaks show that the U.S. has repeatedly importuned Beijing to bar North Korean shipments through China, yet China has taken no action.
The Cylance cyber security firm published a report concluding that Iranian hackers have attacked critical infrastructure and government agencies in 16 countries since 2012.
The Iranian campaign may be linked to North Korea’s own campaign that is dominating headlines in the U.S.
“[Iran’s] intense focus on critical infrastructure companies, especially in South Korea, hints at information sharing or joint operations with Iran’s partner, North Korea.
In September, 2012, Iran signed an extensive agreement for technology cooperation with North Korea, which allows for collaboration in a variety of efforts including IT and security,” it states.
The study noticed similarities between Iranian and North Korean operations and warned that the Iranian attackers retrieved highly sensitive information about airports and airlines in South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
They even had the ability to remotely control security gates and systems. Nine oil companies were also penetrated.
A secret FBI document warns that the Iranian cyber campaign is targeting U.S. universities, defense contractors and energy companies.
The most well-known attack was on a Las Vegas casino after its owner urged tougher threats to Iran, suggesting a nuclear detonation in an Iranian desert as an option.
The hackers left a message on the casino computers making it clear that it was retaliation for the comment.
Supreme Leader Khamenei responded angrily to the remark.
In 2012, the Iranian regime launched cyber attacks on the Saudi Aramco oil company and replaced all computer data with images of burning American flags.
The hackers said it was retaliation for Saudi support for the Bahraini government when it put down a largely Shiite uprising.
Iran has repeatedly condemned Qatar for supporting Syrian rebels.
U.S. officials have confirmed that North Korea is behind a cyber attack on the Sony Corporation that released troves of sensitive data in retaliation for a comedy film titled “The Interview” about an assassination plot against North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
The hackers threatened 9/11-style attacks on movie theaters showing the film and to release more internal data from Sony on Christmas when the movie is released.
Another planned movie with a thriller story line based in North Korea was canned, even though the hackers never even mentioned it.
The appeasement is reminiscent of Comedy Central’s decision to censor all images of the Prophet Mohammed in its South Park animated show because of Islamist terror threats.
The attack on Sony bears strong similarities to Iran’s attacks on Saudi Aramco in 2012, indicating that the Iran and North Korea’s cyber warfare programs are interconnected and there may have even been coordination.
Just like their weapons of mass destruction programs, the Iranian and North Korean cyber warfare programs should be treated as one entity.
The Iranian cyber campaign has been going on for years and is ongoing.
The lack of a response not only encourages Iranian aggression further, it likely encouraged North Korea to believe it could do the same with impunity.
The advance of one is an advance of the other. Differences in their activity should be seen as a common-sense division of labor.
Gordon Chang, a prominent expert on Asian affairs, has written about the likelihood that this is the case.
Last May, an Iranian opposition group that has accurately identified hidden nuclear sites in the past reported that it had specific intelligence about North Korean nuclear and missile experts secretly visiting Iran.
Intelligence analyst Ilana Freedman said in January 2014 that her sources said a relocation of major parts of Iran’s nuclear program to North Korea began as early as December 2012.
For Iran, it is best to let the North Koreans put the finishing touches on the most provocative nuclear and missile work. Whereas the Iranian regime does suffer from sanctions and must always keep the 2009 Green Revolution in the back of its mind, North Korea thrives off isolation and international provocation.
North Korea has nothing to lose and can only gain by such an arrangement. Kim Jong-Un’s regime has already crossed the nuclear pariah threshold, so it might as well let its Iranian allies take the lucrative deal offered by the West.
It has been content to spend $1.1-$3.2 billion each year on it. Plus, the deal puts Iran in a more advantageous position and its economic improvements can help it invest more in North Korea’s activity.
The good news is that this latest test—North Korea’s fourth— does not appear to be more powerful than its last one, indicating no significant advance in technology. RAND Corporation analyst Bruce Bennett saysNorth Korea is still working on the “basics” of a nuclear fission bomb.
It is hard for some to accept that an Islamist theocracy like that in Iran would work with a cultish communist dictatorship like North Korea, but there is nothing in either one’s ideology that would prevent such cooperation. In fact, North Korea’s success in building a nuclear arsenal actually encourages Iran to see nuclear weapons as a key lesson for the Islamic Revolution.
“The entire world may well consider North Korea a failed state, but from the view point of [Iran], North Korea is a success story and a role model:
A state which remains true to its revolutionary beliefs and defies the Global Arrogance,” Ali Alfoneh, an expert on the Iranian regime, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Given the spotty record of U.S. intelligence assessments (to say the least), the West must operate under the assumption that there isn’t an Iranian WMD problem and a North Korean WMD problem, but an Iranian-North Korean WMD problem.