Speaker’s aide paid DDoS hackers

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Speaker’s aide paid DDoS hackers

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A former aide to National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae gave large sums of money to suspects in the cyberattack on the National Election Commission’s Web site on the day of the Oct. 26 Seoul mayoral by-election, the police said yesterday.

Police also admitted yesterday that they failed to disclose the payments last week when they announced the results of their probe into the case.

That is fuelling speculation that the probe was handled poorly or the police were pressured by political bigwigs to keep the information from the public.

The cyberattack prevented voters from locating their polling stations. Analysts had said that a lower voter turnout would be advantageous to the ruling GNP candidate and a disadvantage to the eventual winner, liberal independent Park Won-soon.

The police said yesterday it didn’t disclose the payments Friday because they viewed them as financial transactions between friends.

The case has been handed over to the prosecution for further investigation and possible indictments.

According to the police last Friday, the chauffeur of GNP lawmaker Choi Ku-sik, identified only as Gong, was responsible for the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that paralyzed the National Election Commission’s Web site and the homepage of Park on the morning of the election. Gong sought help from a friend surnamed Gang, who planned the attacks with three hackers.

The police said yesterday that a former aide to National Assembly speaker Park, identified as Kim, sent 10 million won ($8,630) to Gong on Oct. 20, six days before the cyberattack. Kim also sent 90 million won to Gang on Nov. 11, 15 days after the cyberattack.

The police said Gong later sent the first 10 million won to Gang’s company and the money was used to pay seven workers.

Of the second sum of 90 million won, Gang sent 80 million won to an executive of his company, who was also a friend of Gong. Gang used most of the money on gambling with friends, the police said.

The police initially announced that the suspects had acted voluntarily without receiving any money. Yesterday, the police said they had no intention to conceal their findings, stressing that the information was given to the prosecution for further investigation.

The Democratic Party yesterday said it has lost faith in the police probe, raising suspicions that the cyberattack was more than a simple crime committed by a young chauffeur of the ruling party lawmaker.

“We wonder if the police investigated the case poorly or tried to limit the probe,” DP spokesman Lee Yong-sup said. “If the police knew about the transactions but concealed them, it won’t be able to avoid criticism for having lost the least qualification as a law enforcer. Our last hope is that the prosecution completely reinvestigates the case.”


By Ser Myo-ja, Park Sung-woo [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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