GNP lawmaker’s aide confesses to NEC cyberattack

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GNP lawmaker’s aide confesses to NEC cyberattack

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The suspect behind the Oct. 26 by-election day cyberattack confessed yesterday that he committed the crime and said that he did not receive help or direction from the Grand National Party or anyone else, according to the National Police Agency.

The alleged culprit, surnamed Gong, 27, who was a driver for Grand National Party Representative Choi Ku-sik, had until yesterday kept mum since his arrest on Dec. 2.

“The driver, surnamed Gong, changed his mind and confessed,” an NPA official said. “However, we need to logically determine whether his statement is credible.”

On Oct. 26, the day of by-elections, including the vote for Seoul mayor, the Web sites of the National Election Commission and then-candidate Park Won-soon were paralyzed for more than two hours from a distributed denial-of-service attack, confusing many voters trying to find their polling stations on the election watchdog’s Web site.

After Gong’s arrest, Democratic Party lawmakers accused the GNP of being involved in the attack to lower voter turnout, saying that it would have been impossible for a ninth-level civil servant to commit such a serious crime alone.

“Gong thought that helping GNP mayoral nominee Na Kyung-won to victory would be a way of helping Representative Choi,” the NPA official said.

The official added, “And Gong said that he believed young voters would have a large impact on the election and that voter turnout would drop if they couldn’t find their polling stations.”

According to police, on the night before election day, Gong said he called a friend from his hometown, surnamed Gang, who was in the Philippines at the time, to ask him to paralyze the NEC’s Web site as he was having drinks at a Seoul room salon with five other people, including an aide to National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae.

In the middle of the drinking session, Gong said he brought the speaker’s aide, surnamed Kim, outside the room salon and said to him, “Why don’t we strike the NEC’s Web site?”

Kim was said to have tried to dissuade Gong, saying, “No way. We would be arrested. It [the attack] won’t help you at all.”

Gong told police that he called Kim on his cell phone on the morning of election day to tell him that he succeeded in attacking the site.

Asked why he had initially denied all allegations, Gong responded, “I worried that I’d harm the people around me if I told the truth.”

Police also questioned another friend of Gong who had spoken with him on election day to determine if he had been involved in the crime.

However, after police close the case, prosecutors yesterday said that they will investigate it once again in order to obtain hard evidence and get to the bottom of the massive cybercrime.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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