Wednesday, July 8, 2009

U.S., South Korea Cyber Attacks: North Korea Suspected

U.S. government and South Korean government websites have been "paralyzed" from a cyber attack, according to unnamed government sources.

Cyber Attacks - U.S. Treasury Department
In the U.S., the Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department websites "were all down," over portions of the 4th of July holiday weekend and on into this week, according to government officials who refused to be identified. Some 12,000 South Korean computers were affected and 8,000 "overseas."
Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, said the agency's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notice to federal departments and other partner organizations about the problems and "advised them of steps to take to help mitigate against such attacks."
The U.S., she said, sees attacks on its networks every day, and measures have been put in place to minimize the impact on federal Web sites.
Ben Rushlo is the director of Internet technologies at Keynote Systems, a monitoring company based in San Mateo, California. He said the Transportation Department site attack is a "massive outage."
...the Transportation Web site was "100 percent down" for two days, so that no Internet users could get through to it. The FTC site, meanwhile, started to come back online late Sunday, but even on Tuesday Internet users still were unable to get to the site 70 percent of the time.
"This is very strange. You don't see this," he said. "Having something 100 percent down for a 24-hour-plus period is a pretty significant event."
He added that, "The fact that it lasted for so long and that it was so significant in its ability to bring the site down says something about the site's ability to fend off (an attack) or about the severity of the attack."
The attack is described as a "denial of service" attack, and is considered a "lengthy and sophisticated" attack. The cyber attacks on the South Korean government websites indicated they are also a "denial of service."
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at Seoul's University of North Korean Studies, said he doubts whether the impoverished North has the capability to knock down the Web sites.
But Hong Hyun-ik, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, said the attack could have been done by either North Korea or China, saying he "heard North Korea has been working hard to hack into" South Korean networks.
Aids also speaking anonymously said they believe North Korea or their sympathizers were behind the attacks. Think about it folks: our government wants to put your medical records online. First there's the privacy issue, and second - what if your records are needed and we have a cyber attack. It's all in the same fruit basket - the government wants control of your private data and they can't even keep our U.S. Treasury safe.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton