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South Korea on Raised Alert After Hack Attacks

AP
• March 20, 2013 11:13 am

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South Korea’s banks and broadcasters faced hacking attacks Wednesday with many authorities wondering if this follows a pattern of cyber attacks by North Korea.

According to Reuters:

Servers at television networks YTN, MBC, and KBS were affected as well as Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank, two major banks, the police and government officials said. At least some of the computers affected by the attacks had some files deleted, according to the authorities.

Hacked computers went blank, crashed, and could not be restarted, except for an occasional error display. On some screens an image of a skull appeared, raising fears that malware was installed on the system.

No government or military servers were damaged but the South Korean military has raised its alert level due to North Korea’s past involvement in similar attacks, including two major cyber attacks in 2009 and 2011 that affected government systems and knocked out the Nonghyup bank servers for three days.

Authorities would not speculate whether North Korea was behind the cyber attacks. North Korea is known to operate hacker schools similar to those found in China.

North Korea has increased its rhetoric against South Korea and the United States over the past few weeks after claiming that it was the victim of an American-led cyber attack.