Skip to main content

South Korea says hacking not from Chinese address

By K.J. Kwon and Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
Members of the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) check on cyber attacks at a briefing room of KISA in Seoul on March 20, 2013.
Members of the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) check on cyber attacks at a briefing room of KISA in Seoul on March 20, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Wednesday's suspected cyberattack hit 32,000 computers
  • Nine companies fell victim to the malicious code
  • Government computers weren't affected
  • South Korea has blamed the North in the past, which has rejected the allegations

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- The suspected cyberattack that struck South Korean banks and media companies this week didn't originate from a Chinese IP address, South Korean officials said Friday, contradicting their previous claim.

The Korea Communications Commission, a South Korean regulator, said that after "detailed analysis," the IP address that was thought to be from China was determined to be an internal IP address from one of the banks that was infected by the malicious code.

It said, though, that "the government has confirmed that the attack was from a foreign land."

An IP address is the number that identifies a network or device on the Internet.

Read: Why cyber attacks threaten our freedom

Widespread damage

Experiencing a potential cyberattack
Internet outage hits South Korea
Cybersecurity concerns for China, U.S.

The attack Wednesday damaged 32,000 computers and servers at media and financial companies, South Korea's Communications Commission said.

It infected banks' and broadcasters' computer networks with a malicious program, or malware, that slowed or shut down systems, officials and the semiofficial Yonhap News Agency said.

The military stepped up its cyberdefense efforts in response to the widespread outages, which hit nine companies, Yonhap reported, citing the National Police Agency.

Government computer networks did not seem to be affected, Yonhap cited the National Computing and Information Agency as saying. A joint team from government, the military and private industry was responding.

How the hackers got in and spread the malicious code remains under investigation, and analysts are examining the malware, a South Korean official close to the investigation said.

Read: International cyber attacks on the rise

Blaming North Korea in the past

South Korea has accused the North of similar hacking attacks before, including incidents in 2010 and 2012 that also targeted banks and media organizations. The North rejected the allegations.

The outages come amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, with the North angrily responding to a recent U.N. Security Council vote to impose tougher sanctions on Pyongyang after the country's latest nuclear test last month.

Last week, North Korea invalidated its 60-year-old armistice with the South. It has threatened to attack its neighbor with nuclear weapons and has also threatened the United States.

The armistice agreement, signed in 1953, ended the three-year war between North and South but left the two nations technically in a state of war.

The United States has deployed B-52 bombers to conduct high-profile flyovers of its South Korean ally and announced that it will deploy new ground-based missile interceptors on its West Coast against the remote possibility that North Korea could strike the United States with long-range weapons.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:01 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
updated 5:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
updated 2:55 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
updated 7:44 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
updated 7:44 PM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
updated 6:49 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
updated 11:49 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT