[ISN] Hackers exploit Korea to attack global systems

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Apr 26 2002 - 01:08:40 PDT

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    By Yang Sung-jin Staff reporter 
    Hackers are increasingly using South Korea as an entry point to attack
    computer systems in other countries, a serious situation that could
    undermine the country's image ahead of the World Cup finals, experts
    and industry sources said yesterday.
    Major international studies show that a large percentage of computer
    attacks can be traced to Korea, suggesting that the country's cyber
    security system needs an urgent upgrade or overhaul.
    According to New York-based Predictive Systems Inc., Pacific Rim
    countries were involved in 91 percent of attacks that weren't traced
    to the U.S., which continued to be the leading source of attacks and
    target for them. Korea accounted for 34 percent, followed by 29
    percent for China, 10 percent for Japan and 7 percent for Taiwan.
    The National Policy Agency's Cyber Center said the number of hacking
    incidents is rising steadily with the World Cup just around the
    Some foreign servers block access attempts whose origins are traced to
    Korea, implying that the country's leadership in the broadband
    Internet business may be marred by its negligence in upgrading lame
    security protection systems, the center said.
    The center, in charge of cracking down on cyber crime and hacker
    attacks, estimated that 22 international hackers broke into 11,222
    server systems around the world between August last year and March
    this year. Of 6,287 sites with identifiable origins, 39 percent were
    traced to Korea, the center said.
    It said about 4,376 systems in Korea have been the targets of hacking
    attempts during the period and the actual damage might have affected
    more than 40,000 systems nationwide.
    The police cyber center said Korea was most vulnerable to hacker
    attacks, followed by the United States, China, Taiwan, Romania and
    The victims ranged from a major Internet portals to state-run research
    agencies to security solutions providers.
    Even a government organization armed with the latest security
    solutions was a victim of an attack by sophisticated foreign hackers,
    police said.
    According to the center, the average number of hacking incidents in
    the year to March was 614, up 20.2 percent from the year-earlier
    period. More importantly, a large number of victims did not know their
    systems had been attacked.
    Police said its cyber team is chasing 22 suspects whose origins are
    outside of Korea in connection with the latest hacking incidents.  
    Police are tracking hackers' IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and
    working with investigators in other countries.
    Police said 18 of the 22 suspects are Romanian and others come from
    Australia, Brazil, Germany and Russia.
    "Schools have turned out to be most vulnerable to hackers' attacks
    since they care little about their network security and international
    hackers are exploiting such school systems," the Cyber Center said.
    Hackers use a variety of techniques to hop from one computer to
    another to disguise their location, making it hard for investigators
    to trace the criminal activities.
    The reason for the frequent attacks on Korean systems is the country's
    fast-growing broadband network. More than half of the nation's
    households are now wired to the high-speed Internet network and tens
    of thousands of local PC salons are crowded with multi-user network
    game users and online stock traders.
    Although the broadband network has advanced by leaps and bounds, Korea
    is required to strengthen its security level by adopting advanced
    software and solutions to block hacking attempts.
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