South Korea has reported that many of their official government websites have been hit by powerful cyber-attacks that also coincide with the 63rd anniversary of the Korean War.
As of 0300 GMT, the official South Korean presidential Blue House website was shut down, with a message reading, “Under Maintenance”.
On Tuesday, June 25th the South Korean science ministry announced that a ‘five-stage’ national cyber alert was raised from level one to level two. “The government can confirm a cyber attack by unidentified hackers that shut down several sites including the Blue House,” the science ministry announced.
Hackers starting around 10:45 am GMT successfully hit a number of government websites including many news media sites. The office for Government Policy Coordination and the ruling New Frontier Party pages were hit in the attacks as well.
Strangely coincidental or possibly incidental, the multiple website attacks coincide with the 63rd anniversary of the start of the Korean War that began on June 25, 1950. Currently both North and South Korea are still in armistice, which is only a cessation in fighting, the implication being that the two are still technically in a state of war.
Almost immediately after the attacks began the South Korean ministry did not hesitate pointing the finger at their North Korean adversary. Other recent large-scale cyber-attacks on numerous South Korean media groups and banking sites were successfully traced to originate from North Korea. The South Korean government said there is no reason to think these sophisticated attacks did not come from anywhere else.
Some tried to say the hacktivist group “Anonymous” was behind the attacks, but those claiming to be connected to Anonymous denied any involvement, but have cheekily admitted hacking into many North Korean sites, such as the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and Rodong Sinmun website, which is North Korea’s official party newspaper.
South Korea suffered a large-scale attack on on March 20th earlier this year where numerous TV broadcasters such as KBS, MBC and YTN were taken offline. Many banking institutions were hit hard as well.
Soon after the attacks, the South Korean government working along side private and contract Internet experts traced the attacks directly to six computers used by North Korea’s military intelligence agency.
The United States has backed up South Korea’s assumptions that North Korea is behind the attacks and said the reclusive communist North was employing numerous “sophisticated computer hackers” that were expertly trained for cyber attacks. This testimony came directly from the U.S. Congressional Armed Services Committee and the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, Gen. James Thurman. “Such attacks are ideal for North Korea” because they can be done anonymously,” Thurman said. She further iterated that the North was, “employed against a variety of targets including military, governmental, educational and commercial institutions.”