News / Asia

Malware Blamed for Crashing S. Korean Computer Networks

This undated screen grab taken released by the Kaspersky Lab site shows code related to the computer virus known as Flame. This undated screen grab taken released by the Kaspersky Lab site shows code related to the computer virus known as Flame.
x
This undated screen grab taken released by the Kaspersky Lab site shows code related to the computer virus known as Flame.
This undated screen grab taken released by the Kaspersky Lab site shows code related to the computer virus known as Flame.
— South Korean police and government agencies are attempting to determine who is responsible for a malicious act that caused widespread computer outages affecting television channels and banking services.  

South Korea's communications commission (KCC) says a distributed denial of services (DDos) attack, a common way to overload computer servers making websites unreachable, was not the reason computers at broadcasters and banks became paralyzed.

The manager of the commission's network information protection team, Lee Seung-won, says there are some initial clues as to what actually happened, based on a quick analysis of data collected from the computer systems at the affected institutions.

Lee says suspected malware was circulated through a software update application known as the patch management system, destroying the primary sector on hard drives containing the code needed for starting the operating system (the master boot record).

At the YTN cable news channel, anchorman Ho Jun-seok told viewers the problem affected the work station from which he was trying to read his scripts.

The newscaster says the computer in front of him, which had been working properly when the newscast started, now is paralyzed.

South Korea's Internet and Security Agency says there is no trace of an attack on the computer systems coming from outside the country.

Workers at broadcasters YTN, KBS and MBC say their computers malfunctioned after midday Wednesday.

South Korea's Financial Services Commission issued a statement saying Shinhan's Internet banking servers went down and that computers at Nonghyup and Jeju banks were hit by a virus that deleted files.  The Commission adds that Woori Bank successfully fended off a suspected denial-of-service attack.

There are no reports of South Korean government or military computer networks experiencing any trouble.  But South Korea's defense minister raised the alert level for the military's information operations condition after receiving word of the problems affecting civilian networks.

North Korea is blamed for previous cyber attacks on South Korean web sites and computer networks, the largest taking place in 2009 and 2011.   

Last week, North Korea blamed the United States and its allies for launching a cyber attack against it.  All of the web sites hosted in the country were inaccessible for two days.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid