North Korea & Other Hacking-Savvy Countries Whose Cyber Attacks Could Wound The U.S.

PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 22: North Korean soldiers look at South Korea across the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), on December 22, 2011 in Panmunjom, South Korea. U.S. and South Korean defense intelligence reports today suggest that the transition of power in North Korea is going smoothly following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il of a heart attack Saturday. His death has brought concerns about instability in the Korean Peninusla, with heavy attention being paid to the movements of the country's 1.2 million military personnel. State media has released imagery of North Korean's weeping and mourning at the main square in Pyongyang as citizens participate in an the state-wide 11-day mourning period culminating in a national memorial service December 28-29. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Source: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The U.S. is still assessing the damage of North Korean cyberattacks, the first concrete action from the country despite years of threatening missile launches at world powers. But though Kim Jong-un insists that his country could take down the entire U.S. with a few key strokes, there are other nations with way scarier (and viable) hacking capabilities.

Don't get me wrong — if North Korea actually compromised Sony Pictures Entertainment (China has its doubts, but the FBI seems pretty sure), it is flexing its muscles in a big way. Cyber warfare is an attractive options for nations with little military presence. Nations such as North Korea, which, despite its delusions of grandeur, has little to no chance in a war against a major power. Cyber attacks eliminate a lot of the giant roadblocks to becoming a successful war power — little overhead cost, no required manpower, and, other than an Internet connection, no ammunition required. 

And with governments relying increasingly on networks, it means cyberattacks have the potential to wreak havoc. And we're not talking about a virus that you got from downloading too many torrents, but some truly serious damage. 

So does North Korea have the ability to hack into Sony and more? Maybe, maybe not. But here are a few countries that the U.S. should be wary of when it comes to cyberattacks.

China

China is far and above a leader in cyber war. In the last quarter of 2012, they accounted for 41 percent of cyberattacks around the world. China's networks are organized, sophisticated, and, sometimes, members of the military. So with the government at least tacitly backing their capabilities, China is one to watch.

Turkey

Turkey is home to a Marxist-Leninist hacker group, RedHack. The group is similar in structure to hacktivist groups such as Anonymous, but has been identified by law enforcement as a terrorist organization. They have been responsible for attacks to the police department and other government sites.

Russia

There was a strong suspicion that the White House's network security breach this October was attributed to the Russians. Although no one claimed responsibility, Russia has been a longstanding giant in cyber attacks.

Taiwan

This Chinese province has been the testing ground for the Chinese military to run cyber strategies on. Perhaps that is what drove them the relatively small nation to account for 3.7 percent of 2012's cyberattacks in the world. 

Images: Getty Images 

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