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North Korea Could Be Behind Massive US, South Korean Website Cyberattack

More details have emerged as to the scale of the cyberattack that brought down several governmental websites in the US and in South Korea over the past weekend and coincided with Independence Day in the US.

Many suspect North Korea to have launched the attack which hit up to 25 websites closing some of them for as long as four hours. It is not known whether the coordinated attack was a simple Distributed Denial of service or a hacking attempt or a mixture of both.

The National Intelligence Service, South Korea's Intelligence Agency, issued a statement saying that "This is not a simple attack by individuals, The attack appeared to have been elaborately prepared and staged by a certain organisation or state. The attacks consisted of massive harmful traffic to specific sites causing access slowdown or disablement. Some national institutions, banks and media sites have been targeted."

The attack was carried out by a botnet made up of more than 18,000 computers which were infected by a version of the MyDoom worm according to web security researchers from Korean computer security company AhnLab.

Further analysis of the code has also revealed that attackers could possibly change the list of sites targeted in a second wave of attack.

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Our Comments

Cyber attacks are replacing other more traditional weapons in the modern warfare. Rogue cyber attacks cause more damage to the economy than merely sending bombs and not only does it costs significantly less but it is also a "clean" procedure that doesn't require a hit squad or mercenaries. Russia and China have been regularly accused of using hackers to shut down businesses and governmental websites from other countries.

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Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.