Tensions Rise in Asia as South Korean Banks & TV Stations Hit by Massive Cyber Attack
South Korean banks and television broadcasters were hit by a massive cyberattack today, with suspicion falling on North Korea as the source.
The attack hit at 2 p.m. local time, temporarily crippling some banking institutions and disrupting operations at media outlets. No television stations were forced off the air and it’s not believed any banking customers’ data were compromised before a gradual return to normality began approximately two and a half hours later, according to the Associated Press.
South Korea’s physical infrastructure and military capabilities were not impacted by the attack.
An official at the Korea Communications Commission told Bloomberg News the attack was the “biggest and most serious cyberattack” against South Korea in two years. “There haven’t been simultaneous attacks on more than one target since 2011,” he added.
South Korean officials told the Associated Press that it will be months before the attack’s origin can be discovered, but some commentators immediately put the blame on hackers in North Korea. South Korea has accused North Korea of state-sponsored cyberattacks in the past, and South Korea also suspects the North Korean military has a secretive branch dedicated to cyberattacks and cyber espionage. North Korea has never acknowledged any of those accusations.
Tensions between the two countries have been at a high since North Korea launched nuclear and missile tests in reaction to increased United Nations sanctions. Further UN sanctions following those tests prompted the North to adopt a hard stance and declare the armistice between the two countries invalid. North Korea has used similar threatening language in the past, but South Korea is taking the North’s threatening language seriously, putting its military on high alert.
North Korea just last week blamed South Korea and the United States for cyberattacks against official government websites.