Posts tagged South Korea
Despite living in one of the most wired societies in the world, South Korean Internet users enjoy a “partly free” Internet due to government censorship of content, according to the results of a global survey on Internet freedom.
Censorship of content, which includes many websites that carry North Korean content, has shot up in recent years.
The government’s own figures show 25,706 items were blocked in the first six months of 2013, compared to 39,296 sites in all of 2012. Five years ago in 2008, just 4,731 sites were blocked.
South Korean defense officials plan to soon launch a high-tech blimp just south of the disputed maritime border with North Korea in November to get a better look into the neighboring country, according to a report in Stars and Stripes.
The airship will hover over the island group that includes Yeonpyong, which is the island that was shelled by North Korean forces in 2010 resulting in the deaths of four South Koreans.
The newspaper quoted a spokesman for More >
The mysterious cyber attack that hit an estimated 32,000 computers at South Korean TV stations and banks last week is looking more interesting, based on the latest analysis from computer security companies.
The first immediate analysis concluded that the malicious software was pretty unsophisticated, in part because it was based on a piece of malware that has been known for a year or so and because the commands in the code were not hidden.
That still seems to be true, but more data about the malware is coming out as researchers spend more time with it.
A cyber attack on three of South Korea’s major broadcasters and several of its major banks appears to have been caused by a relatively unsophisticated piece of software, security researchers said Wednesday. [Story updated, see below]
The attacks, which began at around 2pm local time on Wednesday (5:00 UTC) left desktop and laptop computers unable to start at KBS, MBC and YTN and took the auto-teller machines at Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup Bank offline. It didn’t affect the ability of the TV stations to put out programming.
An apparently sophisticated and coordinated cyber attack has caused widespread disruption to computer networks and three of South Koreas largest broadcasters and two of the country’s banks.
The attack first showed itself at 2pm on Wednesday when computers at KBS, MBC and YTN shutdown. Upon restarting, the computers displayed error messages saying they were unable to boot. Apparently the boot record or entire operating system has been removed from the computers.
ATMs and online banking service at Shinhan More >
File this one under business as usual. North Korea was again ranked second-to-last in Reporters Without Borders’ annual press freedom index while South Korea continued to drop down the ranking.
The Paris-based press censorship watchdog ranked North Korea as 178th in its survey, just one rank above Eritrea.
“Kim Jong-un’s arrival at the head of the Hermit Kingdom has not in any way changed the regime’s absolute control of news and information,” the organization said in a statement.
North Korea and Eritrea have occupied the bottom two positions in the survey since 2007. Prior to that year, North Korea was ranked bottom from More >
Well, this is a little embarrassing. The presidential transition team that Thursday blamed North Korean hackers for an attack on its press room now says there was no hacking. It all appears to have been a misunderstanding.
Reporting on the reversal, Yonhap quoted an official on the team as saying the allegations stemmed from a disconnect in communications within the team.
“Security authorities had asked the administrative office of the transition committee to advise reporters to use antivirus programs and change passwords often as the press room is vulnerable to outside hacking attempts,” spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said.
“There was some misunderstanding in the course of delivering this,” More >
Cyber attacks on South Korean networks suspected to have originated in North Korea are back in the news.
On Thursday, Yonhap News reported that a computer server handling the Internet connection for the press rooms at South Korea’s presidential transition team had been hacked.
The hack, which was not detailed, was detected during a security check by “intelligence authorities,” said Yonhap. Other computers in the transition office had not been hacked, the report said quoting an unnamed official.
Just days away from completing a nationwide switch from analog to digital television, South Korea has announced plans to continue analog TV broadcasting in border areas so that North Koreans don’t lose access to the signals.
Overseas radio and TV broadcasts are about the only free media available to North Koreans, although reception isn’t easy. Officially banned from receiving such transmissions, North Koreans typically have to modify reception equipment and listen or watch in secret.
It’s difficult to know the exact number of people who tune into South Korean broadcasts. The signals don’t reach deep into North Korea, but they are likely More >
Park Jung-geun, a Seoul-based photographer and free-speech activist, has received a 10-month suspended prison sentence for retweeting North Korean tweets.
The case, one of several that has drawn international attention to South Korean Internet censorship, has been going on for the better part of a year and was being closely watched for its interpretation of how South Korea’s National Security Act extends to Twitter.
The law targets those who “praise, encourage, disseminate or cooperate” with anti-social groups, in this case the North Korean government. Access to many North Korean websites and other Internet resources are blocked to South Korean Internet connections under the law.
Blocking Twitter More >