Reports link N. Korea to Web attacks
High-profile sites hit by viruses in South Korea, US
SEOUL - A lab of North Korean Army hackers was ordered to “destroy’’ South Korean communications networks - evidence the isolated regime was behind cyberattacks that paralyzed South Korean and American websites - news reports said yesterday, citing an intelligence briefing.
Members of the South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee have said the National Intelligence Service has also pointed to a North Korean boast last month that it was “fully ready for any form of high-tech war.’’
The South Korean spy agency told lawmakers that a research institute affiliated with the North’s defense ministry received an order to “destroy the South Korean puppet communications networks in an instant,’’ the mass-circulation JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported.
The paper, citing unidentified members of parliament’s intelligence committee, said the institute, known as Lab 110, specializes in hacking and spreading malicious programs.
The NICS issued a statement late yesterday saying it has “various evidence’’ of North Korean involvement, though has yet to reach a conclusion.
The state-run Korea Communications Commission said Friday that it had identified and blocked five IP addresses in five countries used to distribute computer viruses that caused the wave of Web outages, which began in the United States on July 4.
Speculation over who was responsible for the attacks that targeted high-profile Web sites, including those of the White House and South Korea’s presidential Blue House, has centered on North Korea.
And though such finger-pointing has been trickling out since the attacks began, the identity of the IP addresses themselves provides little in the way of clarity.
That’s because it is likely the hackers, whoever they are, used the addresses to disguise themselves - for instance, by accessing the computers from a remote location. IP addresses can also be faked or masked, hiding their true location.
South Korean media reported in May that North Korea was running an Internet warfare unit that tries to hack into American and South Korean military networks to gather confidential information and disrupt service. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Friday that the North has between 500-1,000 hacking specialists.
The assaults appear to be on the wane -no new similar cyberattacks have been reported in South Korea since Friday evening, according to the state-run Korea Information Security Agency.