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Free N Korea news sites crash

Cyber attack suspected

Free N Korea news sites crash
Daily NK was one of the sites that appear to have been hacked
Stephen Hong, Seoul

March 27, 2013

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News sites about North Korea and by North Korean defectors were temporarily paralyzed yesterday in a suspected cyber attack, just a week after the website of broadcasters and banks in South Korea were shut down.

The websites of the Daily NK, an online newspaper, and several other associations that support North Korean defectors went down yesterday afternoon.

“An apparent hacker attack from outside disrupted access to our Website,” The Daily NK said in a press release, adding the attack appeared to come through a US internet protocol address.

Repair work is under way, and stories have been reposted from a backup site, said editor-in-chief Sin Joo-hyon. 

But the website of Free North Korea Radio, a South Korea-based radio service run by North Korean defectors, was completely destroyed and its server cannot be repaired, a representative said.

Several other defector groups, including North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, also reported that their homepages crashed.

Experts on North Korea cautioned against drawing hasty conclusions.

“In the past five years, there have been 73,000 cyber-attacks in the country – but only six of them were carried out by North Korea,” Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

A week ago, six of the country’s major broadcasters and banks experienced a simultaneous shutdown of their computer networks due to malicious code.

An investigation into last week’s attack is ongoing, and the government is trying to confirm if the paralysis was caused by technical problems or hacking attacks by North Korea.

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