S. Korea IT company probed for assisting North's cyberattacks

Summary:The Seoul Supreme Prosecutors' Office is investigating a local IT company and its president, over allegations it assisted North Korean hackers infect over 110,000 computers.

hacker

South Korean prosecutors said it is investigating an information technology company over allegations it helped North Korean hackers attack the country's computer networks. 

According to The Korea Times on Wednesday, the Seoul Supreme Prosecutors' Office said its officials and agents of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) on Tuesday raided the firm's office and the house of its president known as Kim. The firm's name was not revealed, though.

Kim, had stayed in China until the end of the 1990s, and established the joint IT venture between the South and North in the early 2000s. His company conducts activities which involve inter-Korean economic cooperation in the IT sectors.

Kim is suspected to be helping North Korean hackers residing in China spread a malicious code to the South. Law enforcers also estimate about 110,000 computers had been infected with malicious programs with Kim's assistance.

The prosecution said Kim had allegedly helped hackers set up zombie PCs, or botnets in the South. He then hired servers from domestic companies about two years ago and handed in IDs and passwords to hackers so they could infiltrate the servers. Kim then allowed them to use Internet software of his company.

Because of this, hackers successfully penetrated computer networks in the South and circulated malicious code which created botnets.

South Korea has blamed North Korea last month for June's cyberattacks which brought down the Web sites of the presidential and prime minister's offices , on the 63rd anniversary of the Korean War. It also believes the North is training a team of computer-savvy "cyberwarriors" to conduct cyberattacks, which may prove cheaper and faster than building nuclear devices or other weapons on mass destruction.

The country is also stepping up cyberspace surveillance and urging citizens and agencies to be vigilant , after North Korea threatened to launch unexpected provocations including cyberattacks in March.

Topics: Security, Korea, Malware

About

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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