North Korean defector sites report planned cyberattack

Anti-North Korea Web sites operated by defectors living in South Korea experience what is described as a coordinated cyberattack which caused their servers to crash simultaneously.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
North Korea defectors living in South Korea say their servers crashed simultaneously, paralyzing their Web sites.

Anti-North Korea Web sites run by defectors now living in South Korea say they were victims of a coordinated cyberattack which brought down their systems earlier this week.

The Free North Korea Radio, Daily NK, and North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity said their servers crashed simultaneously on Tuesday afternoon, paralyzing site operations, AFP reported. All the sites are operated by North Korean defectors.

The report cited Lee Sang-Young, a spokesperson for news site Daily NK, who said its server was dwn for 50 minutes and the publication lost all stories filed in the morning.

"The attack was aimed at databases and was designed to blow the entire system," Daily NK's management said in a statement on its own site. "Based on this, we can say their target was clearly preordained and the aim was to completely incapacitate it."

According to the site, hacking attempts continued to target the server, making it more complex to recover lost data and augment protection on the site. Daily NK's server management team said it had blocked all IP addresses implicated in the hacking and was closely monitoring and managing the situation.

Free North Korea Radio's Web site had resumed operations since the attack, but North Korea Intellectual Solidarity's site was still down when ZDNet Asia tried to access it at 9.30am Singapore time on Wednesday.

This is the latest in a string of cyberattacks in South Korea. Last week, a cyberattack launched against local Internet service provider, LG Uplus, resulted in server outages at three domestic broadcasters YTN, MBC, and KBS, as well as the Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank. The attacks were initially traced to an IP address in China but the Korea Communications Commission later corrected its assessment saying the malware came from a local origin, a Yonhap report Sunday stated.

According to reports earlier this week, while there was no proof the North was behind the LG Uplus attack, South Korean security experts said they believed the North was training a team of computer-savvy "cyberwarriors", adding that the battleground for its cross-border rivalry with the South extends into cyberspace.

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