Cyber attacks hits Korean defense department, US forces


South Korean conservative activists burn placards containing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Iland his son Kim Jong-Un during an anti-North Korean rally in Seoul on July 10, 2009. The activists were denouncing the North's cyber attacks and demanding a release of US female journalists detained by the North.


Kim Jae-hwan

The websites of South Korea's key government agencies and financial institutions came under cyber attack for a second day Saturday, with few leads on who might be behind the attacks.

The sites of the the U.S. forces in Korea and the department of unification, which handles relations with North Korea, were among those targeted by the "distributed denial-of-service" (DDoS) attacks.

In 2009, government websites in South Korea and the U.S. were paralyzed by a similar type of attack that South Korean officials blamed on North Korea, according to the Washington Post. But U.S. officials have largely ruled out North Korea as the origin of these attacks, according to cyber security experts.

And Seoul on Friday issued a cyber security alert as sites including the presidential Blue House, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, the ministries of foreign affairs and defense and the tax office, came under DDos attacks.

The Korea and Communications Commission (KCC) said the attacks resumed Saturday morning against 29 websites including those of government agencies and banks.

"The home page of parliament momentarily underwent delays but currently all the websites are operating normally," a KCC official told Agence France-Presse.

South Korean police have isolated 30 overseas servers that were ordering more than 34,000 "zombie computers" to carry out DDoS attacks, Yonhap news agency said.

The servers had been traced to 18 countries and territories around the world, including the United States, Russia, Italy, Mexico, Israel and Hong Kong.

Police have contacted overseas law enforcement agencies in attempts to trace the origin of the attacks.