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[] Hackers exploit Korea to attack global systems,

Hackers exploit Korea to attack global systems

Hackers are increasingly using South Korea as an entry point to attack computer
systems in other countries, a serious situation that could undermine the
country's image ahead of the World Cup finals, experts and industry sources said
Major international studies show that a large percentage of computer attacks can
be traced to Korea, suggesting that the country's cyber security system needs an
urgent upgrade or overhaul.

According to New York-based Predictive Systems Inc., Pacific Rim countries were
involved in 91 percent of attacks that weren't traced to the U.S., which
continued to be the leading source of attacks and target for them. Korea
accounted for 34 percent, followed by 29 percent for China, 10 percent for Japan
and 7 percent for Taiwan.

The National Policy Agency's Cyber Center said the number of hacking incidents
is rising steadily with the World Cup just around the corner.

Some foreign servers block access attempts whose origins are traced to Korea,
implying that the country's leadership in the broadband Internet business may be
marred by its negligence in upgrading lame security protection systems, the
center said.

The center, in charge of cracking down on cyber crime and hacker attacks,
estimated that 22 international hackers broke into 11,222 server systems around
the world between August last year and March this year. Of 6,287 sites with
identifiable origins, 39 percent were traced to Korea, the center said.

It said about 4,376 systems in Korea have been the targets of hacking attempts
during the period and the actual damage might have affected more than 40,000
systems nationwide.

The police cyber center said Korea was most vulnerable to hacker attacks,
followed by the United States, China, Taiwan, Romania and India.

The victims ranged from a major Internet portals to state-run research agencies
to security solutions providers.

Even a government organization armed with the latest security solutions was a
victim of an attack by sophisticated foreign hackers, police said.

According to the center, the average number of hacking incidents in the year to
March was 614, up 20.2 percent from the year-earlier period. More importantly, a
large number of victims did not know their systems had been attacked.

Police said its cyber team is chasing 22 suspects whose origins are outside of
Korea in connection with the latest hacking incidents. Police are tracking
hackers' IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and working with investigators in
other countries.

Police said 18 of the 22 suspects are Romanian and others come from Australia,
Brazil, Germany and Russia.

"Schools have turned out to be most vulnerable to hackers' attacks since they
care little about their network security and international hackers are
exploiting such school systems," the Cyber Center said.

Hackers use a variety of techniques to hop from one computer to another to
disguise their location, making it hard for investigators to trace the criminal

The reason for the frequent attacks on Korean systems is the country's
fast-growing broadband network. More than half of the nation's households are
now wired to the high-speed Internet network and tens of thousands of local PC
salons are crowded with multi-user network game users and online stock traders.

Although the broadband network has advanced by leaps and bounds, Korea is
required to strengthen its security level by adopting advanced software and
solutions to block hacking attempts.

(insight -!
- koreaherald -
 co -

By Yang Sung-jin Staff reporter


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