South Korea cyber-attacked

Written by Clive Webster

March 4, 2011 // 2:30 p.m.

Tags: #attack #cyber #ddos #distributed-attack #effects #korea #korean #source

The Guardian reports that ‘hackers have attacked about 40 South Korean government and private websites,’ with victims as wide-ranging as the president’s office to the US military.

According to the site, the South Korean National Cyber Security Centre said it had seen signs of a denial of service attack on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, a statement from AhnLab – a South Korean cyber security company – said that targets included websites belonging to ‘South Korea’s presidential office, the foreign ministry, the national intelligence service and US Forces Korea and major financial institutions.’ However, the Korean Communication Commission said that ‘no immediate damage had been done.

According to The BBC, AhnLab claims that attackers ‘injected malware into two peer-to-peer file-sharing websites,’ resulting in up to 11,000 PCs being taken over and used in the attack.

At this point, no-one seems to know where the attack originated – previous attacks have been traced to China, but whether that’s just because Chinese PCs had been taken over or whether the DDoS malware was written there is unclear. However, the BBC says that the two file-sharing websites that were originally infected can expect a visit from South Korea’s cyber investigation unit.

According to the BBC, previous attacks in 2009 were ‘initially blamed on North Korea, but experts later said they had no conclusive evidence that Pyongyang was responsible.’ This is despite claims in the South Korean media that North Korea has an internet warfare unit that’s working to undermine the US and South Korean governments and militaries. The US collaborates in patrolling the de-militarised zone (DMZ) along the border of North and South Korea.

We’ve yet to see the true consequences of this cyber attack, so it's not yet known whether this is actually a concerted effort to shake up the uneasy truce between North and South Korea.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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