Cyber attacks.

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    Jul 09, 2009 8:40 PM GMT
    SEOUL, South Korea — Seven South Korean Web sites are under renewed cyberattack, a government official said Thursday.

    Ku Kyo-young from the state-run Korea Communications Commission said the latest assault began around 6:30 p.m. local time (0930 GMT, 5:30 a.m. EDT ) Thursday.

    He said one of the affected sites belongs to the government, the other six are private. Some are still working normally despite the attacks.

    The National Intelligence Service said in a statement earlier Thursday that it was strengthening cybersecurity measures for government computer networks, citing a possible new wave of attacks which could target national infrastructure operators like energy, telecommunications and media companies.

    Seoul-based antivirus software developer AhnLab said it has analyzed a virus program that sent a flood of Internet traffic to paralyze Web sites in both South Korea and the United States.

    It said seven South Korean sites were likely to be targeted on Thursday, including those of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, Kookmin Bank and the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper.

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    South Korean intelligence officials believe North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces were behind the cyber attacks in the U.S. over the July 4 U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend and in South Korea since Tuesday.

    Some South Korean sites remained inaccessible or unstable on Thursday, including the National Cyber Security Center, affiliated with the main spy agency.

    The National Intelligence Service informed members of parliament's intelligence committee of its assessment on Wednesday, according to aides to two of the lawmakers. They spoke on condition of anonymity given the classified nature of the information.
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    The spy agency declined to confirm the information provided by the aides but said in a statement that the sophistication of the attacks suggested they were carried out at a higher level than rogue or individual hackers.

    The agency's new statement Thursday didn't mention suspected North Korean involvement and only repeated it was closely cooperating with the U.S. and other countries to discover the origin of the attacks.

    U.S. authorities also eyed North Korea as the origin of the trouble, though they warned it would be difficult to identify the attackers quickly.

    Three U.S. officials said that while Internet addresses have been traced to North Korea, that does not necessarily mean the attack involved Kim Jong Il's government in Pyongyang. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

    On Thursday, the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported that South Korea has detected signs that North Korea or its sympathizers in China or elsewhere committed the cyberattacks.

    The paper, citing an unidentified government official, said the assessment was made after an investigation on infected computers' IP addresses — the Internet equivalent of a street address or phone number.

    South Korean media reported in May that North Korea was running a cyberwarfare unit that tries to hack into U.S. and South Korean military networks to gather confidential information and disrupt service.

    The communist North has recently engaged in a series of threats and provocative actions widely condemned by the international community including a nuclear test and missile launches, including firing seven ballistic missiles on July 4 in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

    The cyber outages were caused by so-called denial of service attacks in which floods of computers all try to connect to a single site at the same time, overwhelming the server that handles the traffic, the state-run Korea Information Security Agency said.

    In South Korea, 12 sites were initially attacked Tuesday, followed by attacks Wednesday on 10 others, including those of government offices like the presidential Blue House and the Defense Ministry, banks, vaccine firms and Web portals.

    The U.S. targets included the White House, Pentagon, Treasury Department and the New York Stock Exchange.

    South Korea issued a cybersecurity alert Wednesday, establishing an ad hoc office to monitor and obstruct cyberattacks on state agencies around the clock.

    The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said in a statement that personal computers of all civic servants are required to undergo an emergency inspection.

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    Who do you think is behind this? What do you think they're trying to do?
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    Jul 10, 2009 3:06 AM GMT
    Increasingly, cyberwarfare and mass attacks have been used in regional struggles and by states seeking to test potential rivals for weaknesses.

    Russia-based cyber attacks on Estonian servers have been well documented.

    Similarly, US intelligence services have repeatedly announced increasing Chinese probes of US defense networks and websites.

    Much in the North Korean military is heavily influenced by Chinese know-how and tacit the very least, the Chinese were looking the other way whilst this happened.
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    Jul 10, 2009 4:46 AM GMT
    Kim Jong Il is getting old. He wants to go down in a blaze of glory.
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    Jul 10, 2009 4:59 AM GMT
    Sedative saidKim Jong Il is getting old. He wants to go down in a blaze of glory.
    I love a good western where the bad guy gets it!

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    Jul 10, 2009 8:38 AM GMT
    This story was blown out of proportion. Obviously Kim Jung Ill is a huge Michael Jackson fan and he simply told his minions to search the internet for any news regarding MJ.