Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on July 9, 2009
It’s easy to blame North Korea for nasty attacks on the global community. After all it is an international bogeyman facing sanctions by the U.N. for undertaking nuclear and missile tests in defiance of numerous calls for an end to its dangerous weapons programs. Yet the fact is there’s no evidence that Pyongyang is behind attacks on more than two dozen of major U.S. and South Korean websites in recent days, as suspected by Seoul’s spy agency.
It simply is too early to point fingers at North Korea or anyone else for the attacks that began on the July 4 U.S. Independence Day holiday. The widespread attacks, targeting websites of such government bodies as the White House, the Pentagon, the South Korean presidential office and the National Intelligence Service, Seoul’s equivalent of the CIA, are primarily designed to disrupt systems by deluging them with Internet traffic rather than penetrate them and obtain internal or classified files. The relatively simple attacks could have been waged by hackers looking to make money or prove their skill sets.
The National Intelligence Service has shown a tendency to quickly link North Korea to any maneuvering targeting key institutions in South Korea or its allies. For the latest attacks, the spy agency told the local media that they were “premeditated provocations aimed at paralyzing the Internet infrastructure.” But despite the widespread attacks, many government websites in the U.S. and South Korea resumed normal day-to-day operation after being affected for hours. In fact, a sophisticated state-sponsored organization with malicious intentions would not resort to the “denial of service” attacks that would attract a lot of attention and prompt cyber security experts to defend their networks.