ArticleDownload Worksheet April 4th, 2013
South Korea Hit Hard by Massive Cyber-Attack
Published April 1, 2013
In today’s interconnected world, digital attacks on computer networks and infrastructure can bring entire countries to a standstill. In what is now becoming a yearly event, South Korea was hit March 20 by a major cyber-attack that paralyzed the computer systems of three major South Korean banks and the country’s two largest broadcasters. However, it remains unclear who is responsible for the attack, or what their goals were.
Attacks hit banks, broadcasters hard
The attacks left many South Koreans without easy access to cash as computer systems and ATMs at three of the country’s largest banks stopped functioning.
The publicly funded Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) was able to continue its broadcast on schedule, but the office’s computers were frozen. Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and YTN, two of South Korea’s other large broadcasting systems, faced similar computer issues.
Overall, the attack disabled an estimated 30,000 computers.
The computer systems at the three affected banks came back online just two days after the attacks, but TV networks took longer to recover.
The attacks did not affect the South Korean government, military, infrastructure, or other computer operating systems in the country.
Investigators look for the source of the attack
The Korea Communications Commission announced March 21 that the computer virus’s Internet Protocol (IP) address indicated that it originated in China. By the next day, the KCC corrected its statement, saying that the IP address actually belonged to a computer on the internal network of Nonghyup Bank, one of the South Korean institutions hit by the attacks. The bank’s internal IP address happened to be identical to a public IP address in China.
“We were careless in our efforts to double-check and triple-check,” said KCC official Lee Seung-won of the misstep, blaming the error in identifying the IP address on investigators’ rush to answer the public’s concerns about who was behind the attacks.
As the government searches for answers about this incident, it is also anticipating future attacks. South Korea has experienced a cyber-attack every year since 2009.
“There’s definitely concern there will be more attacks. I think there’s also concern that the government—which told us one thing yesterday and another thing today—might not necessarily have a handle on what’s going on,” Robert Koehler of the South Korean discussion blog Marmot’s Hole told the NewsHour.
Questions still surround the attacks
Despite the investigation that connected the IP address to Nonghyup Bank, the public is still suspicious of the origin of the attacks on KBS and MBC. North Korea has previously threatened to attack South Korean news stations for criticizing its government, and has been openly hostile to both South Korea and the U.S.
However, an official at the KCC told the Chosun Ilbo newpaper that they, “traced some IP addresses found on [affected] computer networks to overseas sources like the U.S. and a few European countries.”
Investigations are underway into different potential sources and reasons for the attack. The South Korean government is even looking to create a new Cyber Security Secretary position. If approved, this official would work to cope with, and ultimately prevent, future attacks like the one on March 20.
— Compiled by Laura Sciuto for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Free speech and Trump’s reaction to NFL protesters
Use this PBS NewsHour lesson plan to discuss President Trump’s comments that football players should be fired if they kneel during the national anthem. Continue readingColin KaepernickconstitutionDigCitdigital citizenshipDonald TrumpFirst Amendmentfree speechgymnational anthemNational Football AssociationNFLphysical educationpolice brutalityprofessional sportsSocial Issuessocial justicesportsTwitter
How-to guide for sheltering pets during extreme weather events
Thousands of evacuees sought refuge in Houston’s convention center during Hurricane Harvey, but their pets were not allowed in with them. New emergency service groups and animal shelters in Houston are taking a step to include animals and pets in disaster planning. Continue readinganimal rescueanimalsenvironmental scienceextreme weatherFriends for LifehurricaneHurricane HarveyHurricane Irmanatural disasterpetsScienceshelterSRLSTEMstudent reporting labs
Hillary Clinton on sexism, racism and Trump’s foreign policy deficits
Hillary Clinton, the former senator, secretary of state, first lady and presidential candidate published her memoir, “What Happened,” last week about the 2016 presidential election in which she lost to Donald Trump. Continue reading2016 presidential electionDonald TrumpElection 2016Foreign PolicygenderGovernment & CivicsHillary ClintonNorth KorearacismsexismSocial Studies
Student Reporting Labs STEM Lesson Plan: Protecting green space through hands-on learning
In this PBS NewsHour lesson, students take a hands-on approach to nature by exploring green spaces in their community. Continue readingbiologyDebateEconomicsEnvironmental Protection Agencyenvironmental scienceEPAGovernment & Civicsgreen spacelesson planopen spacesPBLproject-based learningScienceSRLSTEMstudent journalismstudent reporting labs
Hurricane Irma: Determining the road to recovery and the role of climate change
Seven million Floridians remain without power along with 1.5 million people in Georgia and millions more in the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma struck those areas over the last week. Continue readingCaribbeanclimate changeenvironmental scienceextreme weatherFloridaGovernment & CivicsHurricane HarveyHurricane IrmaSocial Studies