News agencies in North Korea say that the nation’s Internet has come under attack, and hackers from the US and South Korea are to blame.
The North’s KCNA News reports that “Intensive and persistent virus attacks are being made every day” on Internet servers owned and operated by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. And although the agency has neglected to publish any proof suggesting whom the guilty parties may be, South Korean and American agents are suspected as culprits.
The news comes within days of a telephone conversation between US President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart in which the two leaders discussed “the need for close coordination with China to ensure North Korea meets its denuclearization commitment,” according to a readout of the call obtained by The Hill. Elsewhere in the discussion, Pres. Obama brought up the “importance of addressing cyber-security threats, which represent a shared challenge” between both the US and China.
North Korea’s KCNA reports of the alleged cyberattack, “There are very disturbing developments against the backdrop of the ever mounting moves of the US and its allies to stifle the DPRK.
“It is nobody’s secret that the US and South Korean puppet regime are massively bolstering up cyber forces in a bid to intensify the subversive activities and sabotages against the DPRK,” adds the agency.
KCNA goes on to call the alleged attacks “cowardly” and “despicable,” and says, “The US and its allies should be held wholly accountable for the ensuing consequences.”
The alleged cyberattacks being blamed on the US and South Korea involve the downing of several official state websites this week, as well as a wave of mysterious disruptions that have made Internet access intermittent at some times, and not existent at all during others. The websites of the KCNA news agency and the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper also say they were hit in the attacks. A technology writer for the Associated Press reports out of Seoul, South Korea that Loxley Pacific Co., the broadband Internet provider for North Korea, is investigating a cyberattack the crippled servers in Pyongyang, NK.
South Korea has refuted the allegations, adds the AP, and the US military has declined to comment. But while North Korea has yet to publish any evidence that would confirm their allegations, a member of the country’s military says an attack on the nation’s computers is likely in response to a recent nuclear test.
"The US thinks that only it can have nuclear weapons. But we have nuclear weapons for justice, and for the sovereignty of our country," the AP says Lt. Ri Yong Kwon of the North's Korean People's Army said Friday.
Another source speaking to the newswire thinks differently, though, and suspects Chinese hackers could be to blame.
"There are many Chinese Internet users who have expressed their hatred of North Korea these days. I think it's more likely that some of them launched cyberattacks on North Korean websites," says Lim Jong-in, dean of Korea University's Graduate School of Information Security in Seoul, SK. "Many in China know much more about North Korea's IT environments."
In response to recent nuclear exercises, the United Nations have imposed sanctions on the North. Earlier in the week, a North Korean propaganda video that depicts life in the West as rampant with homelessness and decrepit conditions circulated the Web. The Washington Post notes that he original version of the video includes a reference to the Sandy Hook shooting and was uploaded under the name, “The dark reality of capitalist societies.”