[ISN] Global Hackers Test their Skills on Korean Computer Systems

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Mon Jul 26 2004 - 03:27:54 PDT


July 25,2004 

Korean Internet users¡¯ awareness of cyber security hasn¡¯t yet
matched the spread of high speed Internet in Korea. It is quite normal
for hackers from all over the world to want to test their skills in
the country,¡± said Kwon Seok-chul (34), the president and CEO of
computer virus vaccine developer HAURI Inc. He also pointed out, ¡°The
damage done by the attacks on administrative organizations such as the
National Assembly and Korea Institute for Defense Analyses could have
been minimized had the users been more careful.¡±

Currently about 11.6 million people are connected on high speed
Internet in Korea, arguably the best in the world ratio wise. However,
the level of web security falls short of standard. For example last
year¡¯s ratio of the use of computer virus vaccine programs was only
38 percent, almost half the numbers of Japan (74 percent) or the
United States (71 percent).

Kwon warned that situations like the recent hacking incident can
happen again, and the damage can be unthinkable. There was a time when
only few experts had the ability to hack through the web, but these
days with great amount of related information on the web it doesn¡¯t
take a computer master to hack a computer system. Moreover, personal
computers are also targets for hackers today.

Kwon also said, ¡°More hackers from all over the world hack systems of
other countries by way of Korea or test their skills by hacking Korean
computer systems.¡± This explains why Korea is the largest
cyber-criminal as well as the largest victim. According to a
statistical research by Korea Information Security Agency, the number
of hacking reports filed by foreign countries on Korea has grown form
468 in 2002 and 2,289 in 2003 to 1,634 in the first half of this year.  
Likewise, Hacking reports by Korea on other countries as well have
increased from 14,063 in 2002, 14,063 in 2003 to 10,634 in the first
half of 2004.

Kwon worried about the increase of international underground hacker
organizations. ¡°Since they work stealthily it is hard to estimate the
exact number of such organizations, but a number of skilled hacker
organizations based on China and Eastern Europe stand out.¡± Said
Kwon, adding, ¡°More and more hackers say they can do anything for
money. The increase of hackers hired to steal secret information from
competing companies is also notable. The abilities of Korean hackers
are generally known to be inferior to these hackers.¡±

Surprisingly, Kwon found the reason of the lowering of standards of
Korean hackers from investigations in the late 1990¡¯s. He claims that
the hacker community vanished as the best hackers got arrested.  
¡°There had been a suggestion that we should train hackers for
positive purposes, but it became difficult to bring them out from
underground,¡± says Kwon.

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