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Hackers paralyse South Korean banks and broadcasters

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Hackers paralyse South Korean banks and broadcasters

Post  Panda on Wed 20 Mar - 8:06

Hackers paralyse South Korean banks and broadcasters

The computer networks of three South Korean broadcasters and at least two
banks were "paralysed" in what appeared to be a coordinated cyber attack on

South Korean soldiers walk near
a fence at a military check point in the border city of Paju Photo: AFP/Getty

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo

7:30AM GMT 20 Mar 2013

Authorities in Seoul were not immediately able to pinpoint the cause of the
system failures and the national security office declined to speculate on where
the attack may have originated, although suspicion immediately fell on North

"Reports have been made simultaneously, so we have dispatched investigators
to the scene," an official in the National Police Agency's cyber-terrorism
department told Yonhap News.

National broadcasters KBS, MBC and YTN reported shortly after 2pm that their
computer networks had inexplicably come to a complete halt. Editing equipment
had also been affected, affecting broadcasts. Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup Bank
reported that their systems had also been affected at the same time.

Just hours earlier, officials of the South Korean intelligence agency accused
Pyongyang of carrying out intensive cyber propaganda attacks against the South,
designed to damage government policies and encourage social discord.

"The North seems to think of cyberspace as a way to circumvent South Korea's
anti-communist National Security Law, and as a viable weapon to hurt Seoul by
spreading disinformation that can weaken public support for policies," a
intelligence source told Yonhap.

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To date, Seoul has identified 442 sites and organisations that are dedicated
to attacking South Korean interests through the Internet, including
Uriminzokkiri, the regime's main Internet-based media and propaganda site.

This week, the site has posted a new propaganda video depicting an attack on
Washington and missiles destroying the Capitol Building.

Wednesday's attack coincides with meetings in Seoul between senior officials
from South Korea and the US on ways to enforce United Nations sanctions imposed
on the North in the aftermath of Pyongyang's recent nuclear test.

The US has imposed its on sanctions on the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea,
Pyongyang's main foreign exchange bank, and four key officials identified as
being responsible for the regime's ballistic missile programme.

Yun Byung-se, the South Korean foreign minister, on Wednesday called on his
Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, to work together to enforce the UN sanctions and
underlined the important role Beijing plays in making sure that the sanctions
are effective.

A study by the Korea Internet Security Centre this month identified a number
of key targets that North Korean cyber attacks are likely to attack and called
on the government and companies to be prepared for this form of provocation.

North Korea has been training a team of dedicated hackers since 1986, the
report said, and there is concern that Pyongyang could unleash a simultaneous
hacking attack against power utilities, traffic links, communications, the
military and other state infrastructure.

There is particular concern about the South's nuclear energy facilities,
which supply nearly 36 percent of the nation's electricity and could be
susceptible to viruses.

The report also indicated that South Korea's KTX high-speed railway network
is vulnerable as it is controlled from a single command centre. A failure in the
operating system would mean trains could no longer control speeds, routes or
signals and - in a worst-case scenario, the report warned - they could be
re-routed so they collide, causing hundreds of deaths.

Air traffic is also at risk, while the South Korean stock market could be
immobilised or see fake transactions being made, contributing to a crash in the

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