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North Korean crackers hit South Korean hacks

Presidential transition team targeted by Pyongyang

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Tensions on the Korean peninsula flared again this week after Seoul accused its northern neighbour of two separate hacking attacks targeting the press.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Thursday that a web server in the office of the presidential transition team had been attacked by suspected state-sponsored villains from the North.

The server in question handled the office's press rooms, so attackers are not thought to have penetrated the transition team’s main office. Details are still emerging but journos at the scene are apparently being told to make sure their device security is up-to-date and to change passwords frequently.

Park Geun-hye edged out her liberal opponent Moon Jae-in at the elections last month to become the woman elected to lead South Korea.Park is the daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, whose 18 years in power saw two assassination attempts by Pyongyang before his own security chief killed him in 1979.

North Korea has been fingered for numerous cyber attacks on the South over the years. On Wednesday the National Police Agency released a statement blaming Pyongyang for an attack on the hardline JoongAng Ilbo newspaper last June.

After analysing records, it said one of the 17 overseas servers used in the attack had been used before by North Korea, and that one China-based IP address belonged to Pyongyang’s Ministry of Post and Communications, according to AP.

During that attack, the paper’s web site was defaced with the picture of a smiling cat and the message: “Hacked by IsOne”. Attempts were also made to disrupt the paper’s production system. ®

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