Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

North Korea Claims It's a Victim of U.S. Hacking ; Pyongyang Lashes out against 'Persistent Virus Attacks' on Its Servers

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

North Korea Claims It's a Victim of U.S. Hacking ; Pyongyang Lashes out against 'Persistent Virus Attacks' on Its Servers

Article excerpt

Pyongyang said on Friday that it had found new foreign invaders: hackers from the United States and its allies shutting down its Web sites.

North Korea, a country paranoid about perceived threats from the outside world, said Friday that it had found new foreign invaders: hackers from the United States and its allies shutting down its Web sites, Pyongyang's main tool for spreading propaganda -- and its recent verbal threats -- abroad.

Until now, the complaint had come from the other direction, with South Korean officials suspecting that North Korea was behind a recent series of hacking attacks on South Korean and U.S. Web sites. After the North's recent threats to retaliate against U.N. sanctions, Seoul warned of possible North Korean attempts to disrupt the Internet in the South.

Those accusations, although denied by the opposing sides, show how inter-Korean tensions are increasingly spreading into cyberspace.

"It is nobody's secret that the U.S. and South Korean puppet regime are massively bolstering up cyberforces in a bid to intensify the subversive activities and sabotages against the D.P.R.K.," the North's Korean Central News Agency said, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the country's official name. "They are seriously mistaken if they think they can quell the D.P.R.K.'s voices of justice through such base acts."

North Korea's often strident rhetoric has escalated to a feverish pitch in recent weeks, complete with a threat to launch a "pre- emptive nuclear attack" at the United States and South Korea after the allies started joint military drills March 1, followed by new U.N. sanctions imposed because of the North's Feb. 12 nuclear test.

North Korea did not elaborate on what it called "intensive and persistent virus attacks" on its Internet servers. But the Itar- Tass news agency in Russia said a "powerful hacker attack" from abroad had brought down Internet servers inside the North. Nevertheless, the North's two main outlets for government statements and propaganda -- the Web sites of the Rodong Sinmun newspaper and the Korean Central News Agency -- were operating normally Friday. …

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