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Hackers Identified

Posted July. 14, 2004 21:59,   


The intelligence agency confirmed on July 13 that a student in the Korean language major at China’s “A” foreign language school is one of the hackers who cracked into the homepages of 10 national institutions, including the sites of the National Assembly, the Atomic Energy Research Institute, and the Agency for Defense Development.

The agency announced today that the 10 computers were used to hack into those sites and that these computers are all connected through a network and located within 400 km from each other in the Beijing, China area.

An agent was quoted to say, “The hackers used 77 computers at the National Maritime Police Agency (NMPA) to control the computer system and stole information on various matters such as the locations of patrol boats.” This is the first case in which details of the damages done by a computer hacker were specified.

Hackers posted bulletins with computer virus programs on the board of NMPA’s homepage and sent e-mails to employees at MNPA to take control of the agency’s computer system.

This agent said, “The control of the website was transferred to the hackers when someone ‘double-clicked’ the hacking program, subsequently the hackers were able to extract various documents and contents sent and received through messengers or e-mails that were stored in the system.”

The intelligence agency is said to have concluded that this hacking incident is an organized crime. Accordingly, the agency is planning on reporting this incident to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to Interpol and will request a search for these hackers. Also, the agency plans to carry out a joint investigation on this matter with the Taiwanese government, which encountered a similar experience at the beginning of this year.

An official at the intelligence service said, “We are tracing the whereabouts of the suspect, who seems to be fluent in Korean, to confirm his identity, but we cannot confirm whether or not he has graduated the language school.”

The suspect is said to have written grammatically fluent Korean, but he occasionally included some ancient words that are no longer used in e-mails.

Meanwhile the National Cyber Security Center of the National Intelligence Agency reported that the number of last year’s cyber infringements on public institutions in Korea was 1,323, with a monthly average of 110 cases.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com needjung@donga.com