SEOUL – The source of a massive cyber attack that caused three South Korean broadcasters and two banks to go offline for most of Wednesday afternoon (KST) was domestic, the Korean Communications Commission (KCC) said today.
The internet watchdog had previously announced that a Chinese IP address was behind the attack, leading many to speculate that North Korea had conducted a sophisticated and coordinated hacking operation against the South Korean capital. A website operated by LG was also targeted, in what some analysts now argue appears to have been entirely coincidental.
“[The attack on] LG Uplus is looking increasingly like it was unrelated to the troubles at the TV stations and banks,” North Korea Tech blogger Martyn Williams said in a comprehensive blog post on the attack.
The South Korean media has not yet released further details regarding the exact origin or details of the attack, but evidence collated by North Korea Tech and today’s KCC announcement makes North Korea’s involvement in the attack appear to be highly unlikely.
Meanwhile, although Pyongyang has not commented on the cyber attack, North Korean state media once again warned that conflict was ‘unavoidable’ in an article in the Rodong yesterday.
“Outbreak of war in Korea is now a matter of time. Nothing can prevent war from breaking out,” the article said, warning that South Korean residents living close to the border with North Korea should begin to evacuate “before it’s too late”.
The U.S. has started flying B-52 bomber sorties on the Korean peninsula, in order to send a “clear message” to Pyongyang, sources in South Korea were reported as saying this week, a move that has further aggravated North Korea in the wake of joint U.S. – ROK military exercises. North Korea has promised “strong military counter-action” if any further sorties are made, the KCNA said on Wednesday.
The rise in recent tensions follows exercise “Key Resolve”, the second stage of U.S. – ROK military exercises amid the ongoing “Foal Eagle” joint-operation that sees some 10,000 South Korean forces training alongside 3,500 American personnel. The drills are labelled as primarily defensive in nature, but North Korea views them as a threat to national security, and dress rehearsals for a full invasion of the DPRK.
Both Pyongyang and Seoul have labelled each other’s rhetoric as ‘provocative’, and their own military exercises as ‘defensive’. North Korea has declared the peace agreement that ended the Korean War to be “void”, and has threatened preemptive nuclear strikes on both Japan and the U.S.