Wed, May 04, 2011 - Page 6 News List

South Korea says North staged cyber attack on key bank

AFP, SEOUL

North Korea was to blame for a cyber attack that paralyzed operations at one of South Korea’s largest banks last month, prosecutors said yesterday.

The North brought down the computer system of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup) by hacking into a computer security official’s laptop and making it into a “zombie computer” operated remotely, the Seoul prosecutors’ office said in a statement, adding: “This was unprecedented cyber-terror deliberately planned and premeditated ... and involving North Korea.”

The attack left thousands of customers unable to access their money for three days.

The pattern used to spread malicious codes and the IP address of an overseas server used for the attack were identical to those used in previous cyber attacks by the North, the prosecutors’ office said.

Seoul accused Pyongyang of staging cyber attacks on Web sites of major South Korean government agencies and financial institutions in March this year and in July 2009.

“The laptop computer of the IT security worker became in September 2010 a zombie PC operated by the North, which ... later remotely staged the attack through the laptop,” the prosecutors said.

The system crash that started on April 12 left Nonghyup customers unable to withdraw or transfer money, use credit cards or take out loans. Services were partially restored after three days.

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