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South Korean websites come under further attack


SEOUL, South Korea >> Unidentified attackers targeted more than two dozen South Korean government and private websites Saturday, but officials reported no serious damage a day after a pair of similar assaults.

A total of 29 websites were hit Saturday, the Korea Communications Commission said, in so-called "denial of service" attacks in which large numbers of "zombie" computers try to connect to a site at the same time in an attempt to overwhelm the server.

Commission official Lee Sang-kug said, however, that the attacks were "so weak that no actual damage was detected so far." Lee added that the commission would keep a close watch on the situation in coming days, though expressed confidence fallout would remain limited as the government and computer security companies were well prepared.

Saturday’s attacks on sites including South Korea’s presidential office, the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, some financial institutions and U.S. Forces Korea followed two rounds that occurred Friday in which damage was also limited.

Lee said that 40 websites were originally targeted Friday, though only 29 came under actual attack. A total of 29 were targeted Saturday, he said. It remained unclear where the attacks originated, he said.

In 2009, some government websites in South Korea and the U.S. were paralyzed by a similar type of attack that South Korean officials believed was conducted by North Korea. But U.S. officials have largely ruled out North Korea as the origin, according to cybersecurity experts.

South Korean media have previously reported that North Korea runs an Internet warfare unit aimed at hacking into U.S. and South Korean military networks to gather information and disrupt service.

Park Kun-woo, a spokesman for South Korean computer security company AhnLab, said Friday that China is also pointed to as a source of cyberattacks because a large amount of malware, or malicious software, originates from there.



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