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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Cyberattack in South Korea Hits 40 Web Sites -

The coat of arms of South KoreaImage via WikipediaCyberattack in South Korea Hits 40 Web Sites -

SEOUL, South Korea — Forty Web sites in South Korea were attacked by a computer virus on Friday, including the official sites of the presidential Blue House, the Foreign Ministry, the country’s biggest bank, the country’s two largest search engines, a major online auction house and some American and Korean military sites.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack, but the National Police Agency is investigating the assault, which was discovered by AhnLab, an Internet security firm in Seoul.

Computer analysts said the problems amounted to a so-called denial of service attack, in which multiple computers infected by a software virus try to access targeted Web sites simultaneously. That can overwhelm the sites with a surge of traffic that crashes their servers.

WordPress, one of the largest blog-hosting sites on the Internet, was attacked this way on Thursday, the company said.

A South Korean government official said Friday that there had been “no major damage at all” to computer systems at the Blue House, the executive office and official residence of South Korea’s president.

“We were attacked, but it was defended,” the official said, noting that the Blue House and other agencies had installed security countermeasures after a major cyberattack on South Korean government sites in July 2009. He said the effect of that attack had been “quite chaotic.”

An AhnLab spokesman, Song Chang-min, said the two attacks had similarities, including the targeted sites. AhnLab discovered the virus on Thursday and quickly distributed a free antivirus solution for downloading.

“This wasn’t as serious as 2009, but it still makes servers go down,” Mr. Song said. “Some Web sites going down for even a minute or two, especially commercial sites, can be a big problem. It can be critical.”

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