Wednesday, March 20, 2013

North Korea suspected of mounting cyberattack that shuts down South Korean banks, TV stations

Just to remind ourselves of the north Korea provocation pattern, below this article I have pasted the AP article from four days ago in which the north accused the South and US of conducting cyber attacks against it.  They have constructed their self defense rationale and are now "justified" (in their minds) conducting their own cyberattacks because they can "prove" the South attacked them first.  And as an aside if we pay attention to the north's actions and rhetoric we can see that they sometimes do telegraph their punches but too often we can only see that in hindsight.

Freya PetersenMarch 20, 2013 05:56


North Korea suspected of mounting cyberattack that shuts down South Korean banks, TV stations

South Korean police are investigating a possible hacking incident from North Korea on Wednesday as banks and TV stations experience power outages.

A possible cyberattack has shut down South Korean banks and TV stations with suspicions falling on North Korea after an escalation of rhetoric between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Screens went blank at 2 p.m. local time and skulls popped up on the screens, indicating a breach by hackers, the Associated Press wrote, citing the state-run Korea Information Security Agency.
TV stations KBS and MBC and cable channel YTN and two major banks, Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup, were paralyzed, according to reports.

The government, military and nuclear power plants appear to have been spared,The New York Times wrote.

South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin called an emergency security meeting to review the military's five-tier threat level system, designed to defend against a cyberattack, from Level 4 to Level 3, Yonhap wrote.

A ministry spokesman said:

"Currently, the military network is operating normally. There were no [hacking] attempts from outside."
While the National Intelligence Service was still investigating the outage and was yet to find any evidence of external attacks, speculation in local media was that North Korea had fired the last salvo in a tit-for-tat exchange in a cyber war.

North Korea recently accused South Korea and the US of attacking its state websites.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed last week that several official websites, including its own and those of state newspaper the Rodong Sinmun and national airline Air Koryo, had suffered disruption.
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North Korea accuses US, South Korea of waging cyberattack; expert says China is likely culprit

By Associated PressPublished: March 15
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday blamed South Korea and the United States for cyberattacks that temporarily shut down websites this week at a time of elevated tensions over the North’s nuclear ambitions. Experts, however, indicated it could take months to determine what happened and one analyst suggested hackers in China were a more likely culprit.

Internet access in Pyongyang was intermittent on Wednesday and Thursday, and Loxley Pacific Co., the broadband Internet provider for North Korea, said it was investigating an online attack that took down Pyongyang servers. A spokesman for the Bangkok-based company said Friday that it was not clear where the attack originated.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency blamed the shutdown on the United States and South Korea, accusing the allies of expanding an aggressive stance against Pyongyang into cyberspace with “intensive and persistent virus attacks.”

South Korea denied the allegation and the U.S. military declined to comment.

Loxley Pacific, which has provided broadband Internet service in North Korea through a joint venture with the government since 2010, said the Internet was back to normal Friday. AP journalists in Pyongyang also were able to access the Internet again Friday after two days of disruptions. Most North Koreans do not have access to the Internet, which remains restricted to a select group.
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