Irresponsible attacksThe possibility has been raised that the cyber attacks on key Web sites in South Korea and the U.S. may have originated in North Korea, arousing controversy. The National Intelligence Service suspects North Korea or its sympathizers may have been behind the attacks. American experts on North Korea and analysts on the cable channel Fox News have also pointed to the North as the source of the attacks. Meanwhile, some in South Korea, including the Democratic Party, have objected to the NIS’s analysis and maintain that the authorities fabricated the information in order to generate fear or disgust about North Korea and use it for political purposes.
We believe that we need to be fully alert for possible cyber attacks from the North. As recent events have shown, we are clearly vulnerable to hackers. A large part of daily life is conducted on the Internet, including various types of commercial deals, financial transactions, public administration, entertainment and education. But Internet security is not sufficient, and those who use such services are not aware of the possible dangers. As the current spate of cyber attacks has happened on a relatively small scale, no serious damage has been done, but this cannot yet be confirmed. It is truly terrifying to think that North Korea is running a cyber attack unit and trying to find the right time launch an attack.
Apart from these problems, we also need to point out the problems with the NIS analysis. As the national agency admits itself, tracking down the source of cyber attacks takes a tremendous amount of effort and a great deal of time.
Still, the NIS pointed to North Korea first, without having any concrete evidence. Although it cannot be said that there is no circumstantial evidence to support their suspicions, the NIS should have announced their suspicion that the North was behind the attacks only when someone from the outside, whether a legislator or someone else, asked the question. If it had, the opposition party would not have been able to say that the authorities are fabricating the case or trying to use it for political gain.
The NIS’s sloppy response has triggered an unnecessary controversy. More serious, however, are the Democratic Party’s accusations toward the NIS.
Recently, the North has been confronting us, the U.S. and Japan. The DP itself admitted numerous times that the North’s nuclear test and missile launches threaten peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. North Korea cannot be excluded as a suspect behind the recent cyber attacks. But saying that the authorities invented the case for political reasons is not the right attitude for a responsible political party to take when it has a larger responsibility to protect the national interest.