News / Asia

S. Korea Finds No Evidence Between North, Cyber Attack

A TV crew walks by at the main office of television network YTN, in Seoul, March 20, 2013.
A TV crew walks by at the main office of television network YTN, in Seoul, March 20, 2013.
VOA News
South Korean officials say no evidence has been found to blame North Korea for Wednesday's computer network failure in the country.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said it could not rule out the involvement of Pyongyang, which has a history of carrying out cyber warfare against the South. But South Korea's Internet and Security Agency said it knew of no cyber attack coming from outside the country.   

The South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted government officials as saying a malicious code from unknown hackers caused the cyber attack, which crippled the networks of major broadcasters and top banks.

South Korean officials are investigating the cause of the attack, but officials said it could take several days to identify who was behind it.

In Washington, Jason Healey of the Atlantic Council said 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. 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,” said Healey.

Another Washington-based cyber analyst, Jessica Herrera-Flanigan of the Monument Policy Group, said 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.”

South Korea's military raised its alert level following the attack, which paralyzed the computers of at least three broadcasters [KBS, MBC and YTN]. Computers at two banks, the Shinhan Bank and the Nonghyup Bank, also were hit, as were some of the country's ATMs. South Korean stocks fell in trading following the news.

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 reportedly was 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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs