South Korea Suffers Worst-Ever Cyber Attack

Dennis Faas's picture

Chinese hackers are being blamed in the wake of a recent attack on two popular South Korean websites, breaches that together resulted in the loss of personal information associated with 35 million personal accounts.

South Korea's SK Telecom, which owns and operates both of the websites involved in the attack -- a social networking platform called 'Cyworld' and a web portal named 'Nate' -- was recently forced to apologize for the breach.

The number of personal accounts exposed in the attack is quite staggering, given that South Korea's population is only about 50 million. That equates to 70 per cent of the entire population. (Source:

Evidence Points to Chinese IP Addresses

SK Telecom says that it knows Chinese hackers were responsible for the attack because details of the breach were recently released by the Korean Communications Commission, which says it traced the attack back to multiple IP addresses in China.

The immensity of the attack is hard to ignore. Imagine the outcry if even 1/3 of American Facebook users were exposed in an attack of this kind -- let alone 70 per cent of the entire population.

" ... [It's] amazing. And not in a good way," said Sophos security expert, Graham Cluley in commenting on the Cyworld and Nate breaches.

"The most obvious danger is that users of the websites may be targeted by spam and phishing attacks through no fault of their own. Once again, a social network has done a poor job at protecting its users' information, and it's the public which has to carry the burden." (Source:

South Korea Proving a Popular Target

This is by no means the first time South Korea has been targeted by a major hacker attack. It hasn't been long since Hyundai Capital, a major government bank, was breached by hackers. There were also major infiltrations of systems owned and operated by South Korea's National Assembly and its military.

Given that the U.S. government recently determined that a cyber-attack can be considered an act of war, it will be interesting to see how South Korea reacts to these repeated infiltrations in the coming weeks. (Source:

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