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South Korean Websites Hit By DDoS Attacks

March 4, 2011

The presidential office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade were among the as many as 40 South Korean institutions targeted by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Friday, various media outlets are reporting.

“¨According to the Korea Herald, the attacks occurred around 10am local time and targeted “a number of governmental organizations and major firms,” including the Defense Ministry, the Unification Ministry, the National Assembly, the Korea Communications Commission, the country’s military headquarters, US forces stationed there, and two of Korea’s largest Web portals, along with multiple banks.

“¨A presidential aide confirmed the attack, but told the Herald that “no damage was reported.”

ҬEarly Friday morning, AFP reported that the Korea Communications Commission had issued a cyber-security alert, and placed the number of websites confirmed as targets of the attack at 29. A spokesperson told the French news agency that they initially believed that the DDoS attacks would hit 40 websites, but 11 of those companies were not actually affected.

“¨”Some of the sites suffered minor access problems,” the spokesman added.

ҬIn a DDoS attack, hackers work to swamp specific websites and servers with traffic, overloading them and in some cases, banning access to the affected sites and potentially damaging PC hard drives.

“¨According to the AFP, the Korea Communications Commission released a statement that the government officials would be “working closely with Internet security agencies and others to deal with the problem. It urged computer users to download anti-virus programs.”

“¨”Today’s attacks are similar to attempts made in July 2009 to cripple dozens of websites in South Korea and the US,” Bloomberg reporter Bomi Lim wrote on Friday. “North Korea’s postal ministry was responsible for the attacks, Won Sei Hoon, head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, told lawmakers in October 2009.”

“¨However, according to the AFP, “no conclusion” was reached by American officials regarding the actual source of that attack, which had temporarily shut down more than two dozen websites in the US, including those of the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon.

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