North Korea has reportedly hacked into more than 140,000 computers at South Korean companies and government agencies, and planted malicious code intended for a massive cyber attack that has been thwarted, according to news reports on Monday.
The hacking attempts apparently came from an Internet address traced to the North Korean capital and targeted software used by more than 160 companies and government agencies to manage their networks, says Yonhap news agency, citing the South Korean police.
The Internet address is said to be identical to the one used in a 2013 cyber attack against banks in South Korea, and broadcasters, that froze out their computers for more than a week. South Korea blamed the north for that particular attack.
South Korean’s cyber investigation crime unit uncovered the hacking and worked with the companies and agencies to neutralise the code, preventing it from being used in a large scale attack, says Yonhap.
South Korea has been on high alert against cyber attacks by North Korea after the hermit nation conducted a nuclear test in January and long range rocket last month, leading to new sanctions.
In March, the south’s spy agency reported it intercepted attempts to hack into computer networks to attack the country’s transport systems, and blamed the north for the attempted breach.
North Korea trying for many years to develop the ability to disrupt computer systems that control public services such as telecommunications and utilities, according to North Korean defectors.
The United States accused North Korea of a cyberattack against Sony Pictures in 2014 that led to the studio cancelling the release of a comedy based on the fictional assassination of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.