US cyber attacks may be the cause of Nork missile launch failures
Experts are suggesting the in-flight failure and crash of the missile launched by North Korea on Wednesday could have been the result of a "left-of-launch" attack by the United States.This could be a CIA operation to stymie North Korea's missile program. It sounds similar to a cold war operation where the US knew the Soviets were trying to get US technology for their pipeline operations and made sure they got a defective valve which wound up causing a huge explosion.
Wednesday's missile has been identified as a liquid fuel, extended-range Scud and was launched shortly after dawn from near the city of Sinpo, on the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. US Pacific Command estimates that the weapon flew for a maximum of nine minutes and travelled less than 40 miles before spinning out of control into the Sea of Japan.
North Korea's missile programme has a high rate of failure with another medium-range weapon failing during flight earlier in March. In early 2016, a Musudan missile fired to mark the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the nation, blew up immediately after launch and damaged its mobile tractor-erector-launcher unit.
In November 2015, the North's attempt to launch a ballistic missile from a submarine ended in failure, with the weapon breaking up underwater and failing to breach the surface.
And while these failures - and others - may have been the result of poor engineering on the part of the North Koreans, they may also have been deliberately brought down by the US, experts have told The Telegraph.
"Left-of-launch" strategies involve electromagnetic propagation or cyber attacks against missiles immediately after launch, including through infected electronics aboard the weapon that confuse its command and control or targeting systems.
Part of the beauty of a "left-of-launch" attack, said Lance Gatling, a defence analyst and president of Tokyo-based Nexial Research Inc, is that the North Koreans cannot be sure that any imported electronics have not been deliberately permitted to evade sanctions because they are infected with malware. Similarly, when a launch fails they are also unable to determine what brought the missile down.