News / Asia

South Korea: Cyber Attack Originated in China

Members of media are reflected on the door of Cyber Terror Response Center as they wait to enter the lab at National Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea, March 21, 2013.
Members of media are reflected on the door of Cyber Terror Response Center as they wait to enter the lab at National Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea, March 21, 2013.
VOA News
South Korean officials say a cyber attack that shut down computers at several of the country's top banks and broadcasters originated in China.

The Korea Communications Commission on Thursday said an initial investigation revealed that a Chinese IP address created the malicious code in a server of one of the affected banks, Nonghyup Bank.

But the commission stressed that this does not confirm who was behind the attack, saying it could have been launched in another country and made to appear to come from China.

South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok suggested the culprit is North Korea, which in the past is believed to re-route cyberattacks on Seoul through Chinese addresses.

"When [the hacker] turns out to be North Korea, both the South Korean government and the South Korean military will respond. However, it is not confirmed at the moment," said Kim.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency also quoted an unidentified high-ranking official in the presidential office as saying that Seoul bears a "strong suspicion" that North Korea conducted the attack.

The attack Wednesday paralyzed computers at television broadcasters YTN, MBC, and KBS, as well as two commercial banks, Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup Bank.

The Korea Internet Security Agency says it would take at least five days to fully restore the functions of the at least 32,000 computers that were affected by the attack.

South Korea's military raised its alert level following the attack, though the military was not targeted.

Jason Healey of the Atlantic Council says such attacks tend to happen when tensions between the two Koreas are high, as has been the case in recent weeks.

"A few of us had been warning as early as last week that this was … that this kind of attack on South Korea would be likely since the North Koreans have been quite belligerent lately and even renounced the armistice with South Korea and the United States," he said. "The North Koreans are always wanting to be about bad behavior and intensification of their tantrums, so it’s entirely possible that this was North Korea.”  

Another Washington-based cyber analyst, Jessica Herrera-Flanigan of the Monument Policy Group, says North Korean involvement in the attack would not be surprising.

She also said South Koreans who are sympathetic to the North's government could have carried it out.

"Broadcasters are an easy target because they carry news, they carry information, and we’ve seen those types of cyber attacks increasingly occurring," she said. "Banks, it’s a disruption of the economic system, and it’s a statement about the economic system and trying to attack those systems.”

North Korea has used increasingly violent rhetoric against the U.S.-backed South in recent weeks, threatening to wage all-out war after the United Nations passed sanctions in response to the North's latest nuclear test.

Pyongyang is believed to have an elite cyber warfare unit that was reportedly behind computer attacks on South Korean government agencies and financial institutions in 2009 and 2011.  South Korea's military said it was not affected by the outage.

Wednesday's attack came just days after North Korea accused the United States and South Korea of launching a computer attack on some of its websites, which suffered a prolonged outage last week.

You May Like

Ebola Brings Sickness, Fear, Anger

Cornell University Professor Stacey Langwick considers cultural, social aspects of outbreak More

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Violent Quarantine Clashes Hamper Liberia's Struggle to Contain Ebola

Anger, misinformation and mistrust of government hampering efforts to contain the deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid