FALSE FLAG ALERT: North Korean hackers blamed for sweeping cyber attack on US networks

{EDITORS NOTE – This tip came to us via a visitor’s phone call to the FederalJack.com NewsDesk… thank you!}

By Matthew Shaer | 07.08.09

korea_computerPolice officers from National Police Agency show a seized computer which was used for hacking at the agency’s headquarters in Seoul July 8. South Korean authorities issued a cyber-security warning on Wednesday after the Web sites of government agencies and financial institutions were disabled by apparent hacker attacks, possibly linked to North Korea. (Hwang Gwang-Mo/Yonhap/Reuters)

(Christian Science Monitor) – A series of attacks on computer networks in South Korea and the US was apparently the work of North Korean hackers, several news agencies are reporting today. The attacks, which targeted the White House, the Pentagon, and the Washington Post, among other high-level institutions, are raising concerns that the long-simmering conflict with North Korea is expanding into a dangerous new theater.

According to Seoul’s National Intelligence Service, the “attacks appeared to have been elaborately prepared and staged by a certain organization or state.” In that statement, North Korea was not specifically named, but the Yonhap news agency said the NIS had traced the attacks to North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces.

“The NIS has been telling committee members that North Korea or a pro-North Korean force might be behind the cyber terror,” a South Korean legislator told Yonhap. The statement has not been independently verified, and South Korean intelligence agency say the matter remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press has obtained a list of the targets in a coordinated attack last weekend on US networks. Included on the list are the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Nasdaq stock exchange. Many of the organizations appeared to have successfully blunted the sustained computer assaults, the AP said.

In South Korea, the sites of the presidential office, the defense ministry, and the National Assembly were saturated with access requests generated by malicious software on Tuesday, crippling server response to legitimate traffic, South Korea’s Communications Commission said in a statement.

A test

Many analysts see the attacks as a test of the US government’s ability to deal with a coordinated cyber-attack.

In late May, President Obama unveiled the details of an ambitious new cyber-security initiative, which he said would gird the nation’s infrastructure against digital threats. “We rely on the Internet to pay our bills, to bank, to shop, to file our taxes,” Obama said in a news conference. “But we’ve had to learn a whole new vocabulary just to stay ahead of the cyber criminals who would do us harm – spyware and malware and spoofing and phishing and botnets.”

At the time, the White House appeared to be responding to two high-level cyber-security incidents: the apparent breach of a top-secret strike fighter program and a viral attack on computers at a military base in Afghanistan. “[It’s] clear that we’re not as prepared as we should be, as a government or as a country,” Obama said, adding that, the US has “failed to invest in the security of our digital infrastructure.”

As Monitor reporter Gordon Lubold has noted, there were some 37,000 cyber attacks in the United States in 2007 alone – up 800 percent from 2005, according to a recently published estimate that cited data from the Department of Homeland Security.

What’s next?

The attacks on networks here and in South Korea are the latest reminder that cyber-security remains a pressing concern in the 21st century. They may also be a sign that North Korea has stumbled across a new way to provoke its neighbors to the South and its enemies to the West.

On Mashable, Stan Schroeder writes that continued attacks could have profound economic and political consequences. “What seems like a geek’s dream come true – a cyber war – might end up in tighter government control over the Internet, which can have serious privacy implications for all of us,” he argues.

Meanwhile, Ed Morrissey, a conservative blogger, sees the attacks as a clear-cut case of provocation. “The cyber attack shows that [North Korean leader Kim Jong-il] has put plenty of resources into that technology and that Pyongyang intends on pursuing hostilities on every possible battlefield in this generation of leadership and the next,” he writes. “The US had better show that we can prevail against it and make it more costly for the Kims than for us.”

Update: State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said today that the attack against the state.gov website is “ongoing” but “much reduced,” Bloomberg News is reporting. Kelly said he could not speculate as to the identity of the attackers. “We’re investigating, but we can’t confirm the source of attacks yet,” he said.


NYSE, Nasdaq Sites Targeted by ‘Cyber Attack’

July 8, 2009

by Jacob Bunge

(WSJ) – CHICAGO — NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq OMX Group said their public Web sites were targets of “cyber attacks,” though market operations were unaffected.

Neither exchange would say whether the attacks were linked to a wide-ranging assault on other Web sites that included the U.S. Treasury, the State Department and the White House.

NYSE Euronext learned of the incident from authorities who detected a “denial of service” attack on nyse.com, though officials declined to identify which agency brought it to their attention, or how long it had been happening.

A “denial of service” attack involves multiple computers directing overwhelming traffic to specific Web sites, and is considered by experts to be a relatively unsophisticated technique that’s nevertheless hard to trace.

“It is important to note that such an attack has not and could not impact the trading and data systems of NYSE Euronext markets, which operate on private networks,” said Ray Pellecchia, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext, who added that the company is working with investigators.

A Nasdaq OMX spokeswoman declined to comment beyond confirming the attack Wednesday.

The attack on NYSE Euronext’s Web site follows several technology-related incidents at the exchange last week, which included an erroneous notice of delisting for American International Group and an issue with trading systems that required Thursday’s session to be extended by 15 minutes.

Mr. Pellecchia said Wednesday that the Web incident was separate from the previous week’s issues.

A series of coordinated attacks on government and financial Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea were believed to have started on July 4, around the same time North Korea tested new missiles and faced fresh sanctions from the United Nations.

NYSE Euronext shares were 2.9% lower in recent trade at $24.26, while Nasdaq OMX was 1.5% higher at $19.20.

Write to Jacob Bunge at jacob.bunge@dowjones.com


Blitz of “Cyber Attacks” as Rockefeller Bill Approaches

July 8, 2009

(Infowars.com) – A determined propaganda blitz is well underway as the government sets the stage for the passage of Cybersecurity Act of 2009, introduced in the Senate earlier this year. If passed, it will allow Obama to shut down the internet and private networks. The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule or policy restricting such access. In other words, the bill allows the government to impose authoritarian control over electronic communications.

Earlier today, the corporate media reported on a “powerful attack that overwhelmed computers at U.S. and South Korean government agencies,” allegedly launched by North Korea. “South Korean intelligence officials believe the attacks were carried out by North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces,” the Associated Press reported.

It should be noted that South Korea’s intelligence apparatus — known as the Korean Central Intelligence Agency — was formed under the auspices of the U.S. Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps during the Korean War and is notorious for intervening in that country’s politics and kidnapping Koreans living abroad and torturing them. In other words, anything South Korean intelligence tells the corporate media should be taken with a large grain of salt.

According to “security experts analyzing the attacks,” Obama’s White House, the Pentagon, the New York Stock Exchange, the National Security Agency, Homeland Security Department, State Department, the Treasury Department, Federal Trade Commission and Secret Service, the Nasdaq stock market and The Washington Post were targeted.

All of this is happening as Senate Commerce Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller — who has said we’d all be better off if the internet was never invented — plans a committee vote on cybersecurity legislation he introduced in April with Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

Under Rockefeller’s bill, the White House would be required to create an Office of the National Cybersecurity Adviser within the Executive Office of the President as well as an advisory panel of experts from industry, academia and the globalist NGOs, according to Congress Daily.

In May, Obama pledged to personally select a cyber czar who would report to the National Security Council and National Economic Council.


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