N. Korea sus­pected of hack­ing Seoul sub­way op­er­a­tor: law­maker

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

North Korea is sus­pected of hav­ing launched a cy­ber­at­tack last year on the South Korean cap­i­tal’s sub­way sys­tem that car­ries mil­lions of com­muters ev­ery day, a Seoul law­maker said Mon­day, cit­ing in­tel­li­gence re­ports.

The at­tack, staged be­tween March and Au­gust 2014, af­fected sev­eral servers of Seoul Metro, which runs four ma­jor sub­way lines, rul­ing party leg­is­la­tor Ha Tae-kyung said.

Nearly 60 em­ployee com­put­ers were in­fected by mal­ware, Ha said.

Af­ter an­a­lyz­ing the hack­ing records, the Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice (NIS) found that the mal­ware codes were sim­i­lar to those North Korean hack­ers have em­ployed be­fore, he added.

A Seoul Metro spokesman con­firmed the hack, but stressed that com­put­ers used for the di­rect op­er­a­tion of sub­way lines were not com­pro­mised.

“There were data and in­for­ma­tion leaks, but none re­lated to di­rect oper­a­tions,” the spokesman said.

“We still don’t know who was be­hind the at­tack,” he added.

Seoul’s sub­way net­work is one of the busiest in the world, car­ry­ing around 5.25 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a day.

South Korea has blamed North Korean hack­ers for a se­ries of cy­ber­at­tacks on mil­i­tary in­sti­tu­tions, banks, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, TV broad­cast­ers and media web­sites in re­cent years.

Last De­cem­ber Seoul ac­cused Py­ongyang of launch­ing a cy­ber­at­tack on South Korea’s nu­clear power plant op­er­a­tor. Py­ongyang de­nied any in­volve­ment and ac­cused Seoul of fab­ri­cat­ing the in­ci­dent.

South Korea has strength­ened In­ter­net se­cu­rity since it set up a spe­cial cy­ber com­mand in 2010, amid grow­ing con­cern over its vul­ner­a­bil­ity.

The South’s de­fense min­istry be­lieves North Korea runs an elite cy­ber­war­fare unit with up to 6,000 per­son­nel, and re­gards its abil­ity to launch hack­ing at­tacks as a ma­jor se­cu­rity threat.

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