Chinese Officials Deny Role in Attacks on South Korea

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Headlines

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Analysts with the Chinese military have issued statements denying that China had any role in a series of computer network attacks against targets in South Korea.

More than forty South Korean government websites were subject to intense distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the last week, including sites maintained by the Defense Ministry, the National Intelligence Service, the Foreign Ministry, the National Assembly and the Office of the President.

South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper had reported that a government official received a report confirming China had attacked the defense ministry's computer system and accessed classified information.

"South Korea's news is groundless. China has been blamed for a number of Internet hacker attacks by the US, Japan, Australia and some other countries in the past," Wang Mingzhi, a military strategist with the Chinese air force, told the Global Times.

Researchers at McAfee identified a "destructive payload" in the malware controlling the botnet used in the attacks which causes the infected units to basically self-destruct.

In a related story, a series of powerful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks launched against website host WordPress have been traced predominantly to China.

The attacks, which caused serious disruption to the WordPress platform, were conducted over several days last week and are said to be the most powerful ever sustained by the network.

Correctly determining the origin of an attack is difficult as the evidence is largely circumstantial, so attribution remains somewhat of a guessing game.

"You can never judge the origin of attackers from the computer's IP address. A professional hacker can launch cyber attacks from everywhere and disguise himself to be any country's citizens," an anonymous Chinese hacker told the Global Times.

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