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South Korean, U.S. networks still being targeted days after massive attacks

Days after systematic cyber attacks against government and financial institutions crippled computer networks in South Korea and the United States, additional cyber attacks have hit both nations.

Unlike the first wave of attacks earlier in the week, the U.S. State Department said its networks are still being targeted, but with lower volumes of attacks.  South Korean officials said some of its government networks are still being targeted, but also have noticed a dramatic decline in the attacks following July 4.

The botnet had at least 100,000 hijacked computers in South Korea, Japan, China, the U.S. and other countries, which makes accurately tracing the source of the attacks extremely difficult.

"The anticipated attack did take place, but considerable countermeasures were taken and it did act as a defense to some degree," an Ahnlab security firm official told Reuters.  Ahnlab also pointed out that "tens of thousands" of affected computers could have problems booting up, although other experts have not been able to verify that number.

Several U.S. federal agencies will now monitor popular online hacker hideouts, while security experts attempt to locate any digital fingerprints left behind in computer code.  The group responsible appears to be rather unorganized and possibly inexperienced, causing experts to note how a larger, more organized group may be able to cause a higher level of cyber damage to targets.

Security experts are now trying to figure out who is behind the cyber attacks, though early reports indicate North Korea may be behind the attacks.  China and North Korea were both immediately suspected of the attacks, but Chinese officials denied the accusations, saying there was no reason for them to launch so many attacks against South Korea.

The country, unlike China and other regions in Eastern Europe, reportedly have not launched organized cyber attacks, but this could mark its entrance into cyber warfare.

Moving forward, security experts are concerned the cyber attacks could spread from major computer networks to individual PCs, with hackers possibly hijacking them, then turning them into zombies.  If this truly is a cyber war, it appears there is very little the U.S. and South Korea can do against the perpetrators -- assuming they're accurately identified in the first place -- leading to other attacks from the same group.



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By tmouse on 7/10/2009 11:27:49 AM , Rating: 2
I did not say a specific software but a type ie: antivirus (any brand). Any law would probably just make the ISPs financially liable for any damage coming from their networks, that would compel them to enforce the presence of at least rudimentary precautions. It's not without its downsides but there will be downsides to any solution and FAR worse if nothing is done. Soon any group will be able to damage the cyber infrastructure of any developed nation. I see a lot of people mentioning "finding those responsible and punishing them" but the sad reality is these botnets use computers from all over and since there are countries that simply will not cooperate in investigations the trails stop cold. They may be involved but they may not and just be contrary. We watch too many movies and television where it looks like it is simple to track things across the net all around the world with pin point accuracy and this is simply not true. We will never be able to stop this activity but something must be done to make it less easy.


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