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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

China Gateway for Most Cyber-Attacks

By Michael Ha
Staff Reporter of The Korea Times

Most cyber-attacks against computer infrastructures and web sites for South Korea's government agencies originate from China, a new study revealed.

The study warned that the breach of cyber security often results in the loss of critical national and financial information and urged the Korean government to step up its security efforts.

Lee Hong-sup, chairman of the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology, presented his group's findings today. He reported the results at the ``2008 National Defense and Intelligence Protection Conference," held in Seoul this week.

In presenting a report titled ``How to Counter Hacking From China," Lee said 54 percent of cyber-attacks on South Korea's government websites and computer systems originate from Internet sources in China, making it the biggest cyber security threat for the Korean government. 

The United States is also a major source of hackers. The study said 14 percent of all cyber-attacks on South Korean government's computer systems originate from America. 

Additionally, more than 5 percent of cyber-attacks originate from Japan, with Brazil trailing closely behind with 4.9 percent. Taiwan was responsible for 3 percent of hackers.

These findings were based on the analysis of more than 2,100 cases of hacking and hacking attempts against Korean government agencies during the month of March.

The study pointed out the example from South Korea's ``Auction," a popular online auction company, to illustrate the danger of cyber-attacks. Hacks against the web site occurred in February and had originated from a Chinese Internet source. 

The attack resulted in the dissemination of a vast amount of personal data including credit card information and social security numbers from more than 10 million customers.

Lee also said reported cases of ``voice phishing" ― committing financial fraud via phone lines using stolen phone numbers and other personal data ― that originate from China number more than 5,700 a year. He urged further cooperation between the public and private sectors to develop protective measures.

Other presenters at the conference urged the South Korean government to step up its cyber-defense capability. Korea University's Graduate School of Information Management and Security Chairman Lim Jong-in said North Korea has been developing its cyber-attack system since 1989. 

Lim said, ``Japan is also independently developing computer viruses and hacking technologies for the purpose of cyber-attacks. Japan's cyber-defense capability rivals that of the United States."

``There is a paradigm shift in modern warfare and it now includes cyber wars and cyber defense strategies," Lim said.

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