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February 27, 2021

South Korea network attack ‘a computer virus

Disruption that paralysed the computer networks of broadcasters and banks in South Korea appears to have been caused by a virus, an official close to the investigation has told the BBC.

The official said it was believed a “malicious” code was to blame for the system failure. He said investigators were trying to identify and analyse the virus.

Last week, North Korea accused the US and its allies of attacks on its internet servers. In the latest incident, two South Korean banks, Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup, and three TV stations KBS, MBS and YTN, all reported that their networks had suddenly shut down on Wednesday afternoon.North Korea has been blamed for several breaches over the past few years, she says. Initially, South Korea’s Communications Commission suspected a cyber-attack. However, the BBC was later told that experts had concluded it was not a denial-of-service attack, of the kind South Korea has experienced in the past.  Staff at the three broadcasters said their computers crashed and could not be restarted, with screens simply displaying an error message, although they have continued to make television broadcasts, our correspondent said. An official from the presidential office told Yonhap news agency it was not yet known whether North Korea was involved. “We do not rule out the possibility of North Korea being involved, but it’s premature to say so,” Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.No government-related computer networks had been affected, an official from the National Computing and Information Agency (NCIA) told the agency.

The military has upgraded its information surveillance status by one level, Yonhap said. North Korea is believed to have been behind two major cyber attacks on the South, in 2009 and 2011, that targeted government agencies and financial firms.

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