Hackers target North sites

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Hackers target North sites

To commemorate today’s 63rd anniversary of the North Korean invasion that began the 1950-53 Korean War, the international hacking collective Anonymous intends to attack Pyongyang-controlled Web sites at noon, an anonymous member of the group claimed yesterday.

A Twitter user with the moniker “@Anonsj” told Yonhap News Agency yesterday in a Korean-language interview that Anonymous will start a large-scale cyberattack on 46 North Korean Web sites from noon today, including the North’s official outlet, the Korean Central News Agency.

The purpose is to “give unrestricted access to the Internet to the North Korean people and leak information from North Korea,” the hacker told Yonhap. The attack will not disrupt the intranet of the North Korean government, although the hacker said Anonymous has the technical means to do so.

The hacker said the attacks will be distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which paralyze a Web site with massive incoming traffic.

The group will release information they collect through hacking today or tomorrow, the source said.

Anonymous hacked the pro-Pyongyang propaganda Web site Uriminzokkiri in April and leaked some 15,000 members’ personal profiles on the Internet. In May, it hacked the official Web sites of the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), Air Koryo, Choson Sinbo, a pro-North newspaper based in Japan, Uriminzokkiri again, as well as the Rodong Sinmun, the North’s official mouthpiece.

The same member of Anonymous previewed the plan for today’s attacks during an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo conducted via Twitter in April. At the time, the hacker, who is based in South Korea, said the group would connect North Korea’s internal Web system Kwangmyong to the Internet by installing a so-called Ninja Gateway so North Koreans can have unrestricted access to cyberspace.

Kwangmyong, the North’s domestic-only Web system, only allows Web sites permitted by the Kim Jong-un regime.

North Korea denounced the planned hacking in an editorial carried by KCNA Friday entitled “The illusion of the crazy dogs barking toward the moon.” It said the hacking group is “under the control of the U.S. and South Korean spy agencies” and that the Kwangmyong Web system doesn’t exist.

On April 23, a Korean hacker belonging to the group claimed he hacked the customer database of Seoul’s state-run Korea Exchange Bank and released a list of 1,460 e-mail addresses of customers, which the bank denied.

Little about the hacking collective is known to the public, except its several Web sites, including its Korean Facebook home page.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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