South Korea's banks and broadcasters were hit today (March 20) by a massive, destructive cyberattack that some blamed on North Korean hackers. However, there's evidence that a group of amateurs may be involved.
The government-owned Korean Broadcasting System, the commercial Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation and the news channel YTN were all attacked, as were Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in Korea, and the agricultural cooperative-run Nonghyup Bank.
The attacks occurred at a time of growing tension on the Korean peninsula. A month ago, North Korea tested a nuclear weapon. Earlier this month, Pyongyang unilaterally revoked the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War and threatened to attack the United States.
"We do not rule out the possibility of North Korea being involved, but it's premature to say so," a Korean Defense Ministry spokesman told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse.
The attack was much worse than a regular distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assault on websites, which result in little damage. Instead, many affected computer systems had their files or operating systems deleted, rendering them inoperable.