South Korea TV and banks paralysed by hack attack

20/03/2013

South Korea has been hit by a suspected cyber-attack that has paralysed computer networks at broadcasters and banks.

Yesterday, broadcasters KBS, MBC and YTN told police their networks were halted, while two banks, Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup, said their networks were affected.

Television broadcasts were unaffected by the outages and bank branches remained open, although some retail- and business-banking services were inaccessible to staff.

The cause of the problems remains unknown, but there are reports of skulls popping up on some computer screens, which could indicate that hackers had installed malicious code in the networks.

The networks in South Korea had been "partially or entirely crippled", the Korean Internet Security Agency (KISA), a state watchdog, said.

"This incident is pretty massive and will take a few days to collect evidence," a police official told AFP news agency.

Local media has speculated North Korea may be behind the disruptions, and authorities were investigating such a possibility.

North Korea didn't immediately comment on the incident, but on Friday it accused the U.S. and South Korea of launching attacks against internet servers in Pyongyang to coincide with joint military exercises that began this week. Government websites in North Korea have been down or difficult to access for the past few days.

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