Threat Management

Attack on South Korean “vaccine” router blamed on North Korea

North Korea is suspect number one in an attack against South Korea's cyber command last month, according to a member of the main opposition party, Minjoo.

Representative Kim Jin-pyo, a member of the parliament's national defence committee, told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency the attack targeted a “vaccine routing server” on the cyber command network.

The server provides security for around 20,000 military computers that access the internet.

Kim said there was no evidence the attack went further than the server and as a preventative measure, the server has been removed from the network.

An investigation has not been finalised but according to the military, all the indications point to the attack having originated from North Korea.

North Korea maintains a cyber-offensive military unit known as Bureau 121. According to Dr John Nilsson-Wright, head of the Asia programme at Chatham house, “The cyber-challenge posed by North Korea is very present and very real.”

The goal is not grandstanding or embarrassing its enemies but rather bolstering and supporting its military capabilities and campaigns.

In the past, North Korea has been blamed for attacks ranging from defence contractors to an online shopping site resulting in the loss of 10 million customers' details.

In August, it was revealed that dozens of South Korean government officials had been compromised by spear-phishing attacks, and South Korea has also blamed the north for attacks on a nuclear power plant and its subway system.  

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