South Korean Banks Lose Data In Malware Attack
Computer networks at banks and television stations in South Korea froze after targeted malware deleted data from numerous PCs. Was North Korea involved?
Targeted businesses included at least three South Korean broadcasters, three banks -- Shinhan, Nonghyup and Jeju -- and two insurance firms. Computer networks at the affected organizations appeared to halt around 2:20 p.m. local time for unknown reasons, reported South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. South Korea's Woori Bank reported that it had detected a hacking attack at about the same time, which it reportedly mitigated.
Shinhan said the network freeze affected its ATMs, online banking and banking-by-smartphone operations. Affected television stations, however, were able to continue broadcasting without interruption.
"This is the biggest and most serious cyberattack in two years," Shin Hong Sun, an official at the Korea Communications Commission, told Bloomberg. "There haven't been simultaneous attacks on more than one target since 2011." South Korean stocks tumbled after the attacks, with the Kospi Index (KOSPI) of all common stocks on the South Korean market losing 1% of its value, according to Bloomberg.
The attacked sites were defaced with messages by a group calling itself the "Whois Team." One of the defaced sites featured the following English-language message: "Hi!!! We have an Interest in Hacking. This is the Beginning of our Movement. User Acounts (sic) and All Data are in Our Hands. Unfortunately, We have deleted Your Data. We'll be back Soon. See You Again."
South Korean officials said it was too early to tell if the attacks had been launched by North Korea. "We do not rule out the possibility of North Korea being involved, but it's premature to say so," South Korea defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told the BBC.
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