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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid