North Korea’s cyber war?

posted at 9:36 am on July 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Having rattled his saber through a series of missile launches over the past few weeks, Kim Jong-Il has also indulged himself in quieter methods of rattling his enemies.  Since late last week, North Korea has conducted cyber attacks against both South Korea and the US, according to officials in Seoul.  The attacks took US government systems off line intermittently since July 4th and continue at least through last night:

A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime, The Associated Press has learned.

The Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week, according to officials inside and outside the government. Some of the sites were still experiencing problems Tuesday evening. Cyber attacks on South Korea government and private sites also may be linked, officials there said.

U.S. officials refused to publicly discuss details of the cyber attack. But Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, said the agency’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notice to federal departments and other partner organizations about the problems and “advised them of steps to take to help mitigate against such attacks.”

South Korean officials showed less reticence about discussing the attacks:

South Korean intelligence officials believe North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces in South Korea committed cyber attacks that paralyzed major South Korean and U.S. Web sites, a lawmaker’s aide said Wednesday.

The sites of 11 South Korean organizations including the presidential Blue House and the Defense Ministry went down or had access problems since late Tuesday, according to the state-run Korea Information Security Agency. Agency spokeswoman Ahn Jeong-eun said 11 U.S. sites suffered similar problems.

On Wednesday, the National Intelligence Service told a group of South Korean lawmakers it believes that North Korea or North Korean sympathizers in the South “were behind” the attacks, according to an aide to one of the lawmakers briefed on the information.

Kim wants to test his enemies to see how far he can go before provoking a reaction.  In a sense, he’s like a toddler, pushing his limits further and further as his parents keep indulging his behavior.  Thus far, he has suffered no consequences of any real import except to get a few scoldings from the UN.  The US finally put some pain on the table by chasing their merchant ship Kang Nam around for a few days and forcing it to return home rather than complete delivery of suspected arms to Burma.  Interestingly, this appears to have taken place immediately afterwards, perhaps as retaliation.

Today, Kim made a rare public appearance at an event honoring his father, and ABC News reports on his haggard appearance:

The memorial was the second major state event that the 67-year-old Kim has attended in person since reportedly suffering a stroke last summer. In early April, he presided over a parliamentary meeting where he was re-elected as leader.

Footage from broadcaster APTN showed Kim dressed in a khaki suit, looking more gaunt and with less hair than in April. As in April, he limped slightly while walking into the packed Pyongyang auditorium in what is believed to be an effect from the stroke.

Kim won’t live for much longer, and some believe he wants to show strength now to ensure the succession to his son.  The cyber attack shows that Kim has put plenty of resources into that technology and that Pyongyang intends on pursuing hostilities on every possible battlefield in this generation of leadership and the next.  The US had better show that we can prevail against it and make it more costly for the Kims than for us.

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All your base are belong to us

CMonster on July 8, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Paybacks are hell. We’ll crash both of NK’s websites and then what will he do? Or maybe they have three?

johnnyU on July 8, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Where is Hillary? Still in Honduras?

BigD on July 8, 2009 at 9:39 AM

All your base are belong to us

CMonster on July 8, 2009 at 9:37 AM

*snicker*

BigWyo on July 8, 2009 at 9:41 AM

I think Madeline Albright might be free to have another drink with Lil Kim…

/sarc

cmsinaz on July 8, 2009 at 9:41 AM

The US had better show that we can prevail against it and make it more costly for the Kims than for us.

Then we’re hosed. Obama will only talk pretty to Kim, in hope of change.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Meanwhile, Obama’s dropping in Rasmussen’s poll again.

Phoenician on July 8, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Then we’re hosed. Obama will only talk pretty to Kim, in hope of change.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:42 AM

+1

cmsinaz on July 8, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Bomb the $hit of them.

D2Boston on July 8, 2009 at 9:44 AM

I think Madeline Albright might be free to have another drink with Lil Kim…

/sarc

cmsinaz on July 8, 2009 at 9:41 AM

We will throw in Helen Thomas and Janet Reno. Tell Kim they ain’t leaving until he agrees to nuke inspections. That should put some pressure on him.

WashJeff on July 8, 2009 at 9:44 AM

CORRECTION: Bomb the $hit out of them.

D2Boston on July 8, 2009 at 9:44 AM

Some of our problem is the OS that is prone to viral attack.
The cost of upgrading never occurs to anyone.

fourdeucer on July 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Then we’re hosed. Obama will only talk pretty to Kim, in hope of change.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Actually, I don’t know what I was thinking here. If his track record is any indicator, i.e. Honduras, Iran, Israel, etc., Obama is probably on Kim’s side.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Can’t we just ignore this guy? N.Korea is such a tiny country.

Skandia Recluse on July 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

I think we should Rick-roll his ass.

hillbillyjim on July 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Actually, I don’t know what I was thinking here. If his track record is any indicator, i.e. Honduras, Iran, Israel, etc., Obama is probably on Kim’s side.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

North Korea is the most environmental friendly state with nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions.

WashJeff on July 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Can’t we just ignore this guy? N.Korea is such a tiny country.

Skandia Recluse on July 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

No. It is like ignoring a tiny little cancer. It does not go away.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Is it really that hard to use some secure servers?

bridgetown on July 8, 2009 at 9:48 AM

WashJeff on July 8, 2009 at 9:46 AM

Well then, there you go. Plus, they have almost zero illegal immigration problems.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:49 AM

All I wanna know is if they can shut down WhiteHouse.gov

B/c that would be awesome.

bluelightbrigade on July 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Kim knows he has a weak puppy in Obama. This is going to cost us.

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM

I was looking at the picture of Kim on Drudge…I have seen Egpytian mummies in better condition than him.

WashJeff on July 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM

I wish,an accidental luanch of an EMP Weapon
accidentaly went off,frying what ever else the
North Koreans had for a Power grid!(Sarc).

Or,if the 747 ABL,or Ageis Missisle Destroyers
accidently shot down,one of Ill-Kims missisles!!

canopfor on July 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM

All your base are belong to us

CMonster on July 8, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Somebody set up us the bomb.

Doughboy on July 8, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Problem is,North and the South,plus America,

are,

technically,still at WAR!!

canopfor on July 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM

Quick…somebody check…we can still get porn, can’t we??!!

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM

Well then, there you go. Plus, they have almost zero illegal immigration problems.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:49 AM

Any I forgot organic farming with political dissidents composting.

WashJeff on July 8, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Uh, how can North Korea be launching cyber-attacks? They barely have electricity or telephones, let alone internet access – except for Ronrey Boy there.

KillerKane on July 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

rattled his saber

Interesting euphemism. At least now we know it doesn’t cause blindness.

whitetop on July 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Nothing that a few glasses of champagne shared with the Sec of State won’t fix.

Bishop on July 8, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Hope Crowder makes a video out of it.

JiangxiDad on July 8, 2009 at 9:58 AM

rattled his saber

Interesting euphemism. At least now we know it doesn’t cause blindness.

whitetop on July 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

LOL

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 10:06 AM

The Treasury Dept. eh?

Does this mean that they will not know that Geitner forgot to pay his taxes again last year?

percysunshine on July 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Sometime last fall or early winter the DoD made public that there would be a ban on all thumb drives, portable media devises, and USB devises being used on government computers.
They still haven’t upgraded the OS as far as I know.

fourdeucer on July 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Well, if Cecil B. Demented did in fact perpetrate a hostile act on the computer systems of the US Federal Government, and on those of the US’ ally and co-partner in an armistice which belayed the actual hostilities in a never-officially-ended state of war, then methinks it’s time to open up a can of pointed quips.

Oh yeh. It’s on.

Noocyte on July 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM

These cyber attacks are actually pretty good workouts for out techies.

With Kim dying soon(?) there is always hope. His kids went to school in Switzerland. They know the phony state that their father and grandfather created. At some point, even if by accident, they could transform N.Korea as the older crew dies off.

patrick neid on July 8, 2009 at 10:10 AM

I think their country is run on a Commodore 64.

Hening on July 8, 2009 at 10:15 AM

The Norks don’t have a cyber presense. This is the Russians- the DDoS was timed to coincide with the annointed one’s visit to the former Soviet Capitol.

BelchSpeak on July 8, 2009 at 10:16 AM

BO wants to run out the clock with NK.

Too bad he didn’t employ that same strategy with the economy.

the_souse on July 8, 2009 at 10:16 AM

How can they attack us with an unclenched fist?

faraway on July 8, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I think their country is run on a Commodore 64.

Hening on July 8, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Well… in that case I’ll have to scrap my “TRS-80 Defense” program I’ve been uploading by cassette for the last three days.

Dang!

mankai on July 8, 2009 at 10:23 AM

How can they attack us with an unclenched fist?

faraway on July 8, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I think it’s called a “be-otch slap” or something.

mankai on July 8, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM

LOL! I can always count on your comments for a good laugh! You just know some people in Justice were thinking that!

Hey jeff not to change the subject, but did you see the photo of MO on Drudge? An amazon, eh?

jbh45 on July 8, 2009 at 10:25 AM

It wasn’t NK at all. The Gubment system got overloaded by the gubment employees watching the MJ fiasco.

BobK on July 8, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 9:54 AM

LOL! I can always count on your comments for a good laugh! You just know some people in Justice were thinking that!

Hey jeff not to change the subject, but did you see the photo of MO on Drudge? An amazon, eh?

jbh45 on July 8, 2009 at 10:25 AM

LOL..thanks.Yup..saw the picture and I swear I’ve see it before.I’m thinking old shots of Mike Singletary of the Bears
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e204/jblaze66/All-Time%2520Team/MikeSingletary.jpg&imgrefurl=http://thestartingfive.net/mike-singletary-leader-of-men&h=300&w=300&sz=13&tbnid=y-yFzxFz-c2nnM:&tbnh=116&tbnw=116&prev=/images%3Fq%3DMike%2BSingletary&hl=en&usg=__f-fo0_YycNhPVOoemklVKV15avQ=&ei=Ma1USuueG4bGlAexjeDZCA&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=6&ct=imag

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 10:30 AM

I wonder at what point would a cyber-”attack” be considered an attack on the United States, thereby demanding retaliation? I mean, it seems that cyber-attacks are considered more a nuisance than an actual attack on a country. I mean, if they attacked our infrastructure with bombs, we’d bomb them back to the stone ages. If they attack our technology infrastructure, why don’t we respond in kind or worse?

Thunderstorm129 on July 8, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Its the eyes and the size that draws the comparison to the former bear, but what’s that she’s holding? Rocky Mountain oysters?

jbh45 on July 8, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Kim wants to test his enemies to see how far he can go before provoking a reaction. In a sense, he’s like a toddler, pushing his limits further and further as his parents keep indulging his behavior.

I don’t like child-parent analogies when it comes to things like this because it only serves dull the senses to how lethal Kim & Co. really are.

aengus on July 8, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Why do we put up with this little nuisance gargoyle?

karenhasfreedom on July 8, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Missile launches, money conterfeiting and now cyber attacks. Kim Jong Il is exposing himself by raising his loin cloth to an Obama size girding of sackcloth or should I say the U.S. cyber grids? What will be Kim Jong Il’s next adventure be in his on going performances of “The Mouse That Roared?” Peter Seller’s will not be able to help Kim in the next act of “The Mouse That Roared part 2″ to tweak the masses. It is up to Kim to write, produce & direct part 2. Maybe Michael Moore will give Kim some tips. They are both on the same wavelength thinking when determining of what is right from wrong anyway.

Americannodash on July 8, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Its the eyes and the size that draws the comparison to the former bear, but what’s that she’s holding? Rocky Mountain oysters?

jbh45 on July 8, 2009 at 10:35 AM

LOL

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Are our cyber czars and bureaucrats so stuck policing domestic traffic that they haven’t concentrated on preventing complete cyber break downs that result from the same attack techniques?

They were on vacation is NO EXCUSE! N.Korea delivered the announcement weeks in advance.

Obama’s administration fails to meet requirements determining who is fit to serve.

And the MSM waited until they were told to release the news that our federal government was out of commission. Their chorus: TGMJD

maverick muse on July 8, 2009 at 10:47 AM

I don’t like child-parent analogies when it comes to things like this because it only serves dull the senses to how lethal Kim & Co. really are.

aengus on July 8, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Fundamentally, what keeps Kim in power? China, Seoul’s proximity, Japan’s pacifism, America’s weakness? Somehow I see NK as a symptom of something else wrong.

JiangxiDad on July 8, 2009 at 10:50 AM

I wonder at what point would a cyber-”attack” be considered an attack on the United States, thereby demanding retaliation? I mean, . . . why don’t we respond in kind or worse?
Thunderstorm129 on July 8, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Exactly. They are begging for it. Let’em have it. Somehow, though, I have a hunch the current administration will have other thoughts.

The MSM will not say it, but we know why this didn’t happen on W’s watch.

EconomicNeocon on July 8, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Why do we put up with this little nuisance gargoyle?

karenhasfreedom on July 8, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Because his big brother, China, holds the mortgage on all our houses.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Kim: “With this technology we can block 98.5% of Americas porn sites. They’ll be begging for mercy in a week”

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Obama is going to f around until this Gargoyle touches off a war.

Unless Akhmedinnadinnerjacket beats him too it.

Good going, America-your change is just around the corner.

-Dave

Dave R. on July 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM

Oops, I meant to it.

Damn this Chinese keyboard.

Dave R. on July 8, 2009 at 10:58 AM

“The cyber attack shows that Kim has put plenty of resources into that technology and that Pyongyang intends on pursuing hostilities on every possible battlefield in this generation of leadership and the next.”

Doubtful that N. Korea has done this on its own. This is more likely a Chinese proxy attack using N. Korea as a launch point.

EasyEight on July 8, 2009 at 11:00 AM

I remember the good old days when this was the pinnacle of Chinese technology that anyone worried about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yW6vObBOVE&feature=PlayList&p=99A8D00B8FD3A0BC&index=25

Jeff from WI on July 8, 2009 at 11:01 AM

rattled his saber

Interesting euphemism. At least now we know it doesn’t cause blindness.

whitetop on July 8, 2009 at 9:57 AM

I don’t know… see the thickness of those glasses?

Romeo13 on July 8, 2009 at 11:09 AM

No. It is like ignoring a tiny little cancer. It does not go away.

MikeA on July 8, 2009 at 9:47 AM

+1. Funny thing is, cancers effectively get nuked in the course of radiation and chemotherapy; yet, in this case, the cancer wants nukes. Go figure.

It would seem like an in-kind response, x1000, is warranted.

flutejpl on July 8, 2009 at 11:18 AM

Fundamentally, what keeps Kim in power? China, Seoul’s proximity, Japan’s pacifism, America’s weakness? Somehow I see NK as a symptom of something else wrong.

JiangxiDad on July 8, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Short of Gen. MacArthur nuking the Yalu River like he wanted to, I don’t see how the regime can be undone.

aengus on July 8, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Short of Gen. MacArthur nuking the Yalu River like he wanted to, I don’t see how the regime can be undone.

aengus on July 8, 2009 at 11:27 AM

That’s kinda what I mean. It’s power source doesn’t derive from within. It goes away when the reason for its existence goes away.

JiangxiDad on July 8, 2009 at 11:30 AM

I don’t get what you’re advocating for, Ed.

Sanctions? Doing that. Strongest possible wording/statements against them? Same thing.

A military strike? ‘Fraid we can’t start another war.

Why don’t we just let the regime die? Seems like the best bet is to wait them out and let them implode.

ckoeber on July 8, 2009 at 11:45 AM

I think their country is run on a Commodore 64.

Hening on July 8, 2009 at 10:15 AM

An Apple 2e.

Johan Klaus on July 8, 2009 at 11:47 AM

An Apple 2e.

Johan Klaus on July 8, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Now, that hurt! :)

OldEnglish on July 8, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Uh, how can North Korea be launching cyber-attacks? They barely have electricity or telephones, let alone internet access – except for Ronrey Boy there.
KillerKane on July 8, 2009

I read it as the attacks were based in SK from pro-north actors (traitors or spys is what I assumed).

Goodeye_Closed on July 8, 2009 at 12:17 PM

All these provocations are ways for Kim to keep his starving people on his side by perpetuating the “we’re at war with the West” myth. As long as the folks think the world is out to get them, and that Kim & Co. are their saviors, his regime is safe from trouble within the country.

n0doz on July 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Lockheed Martin might want to suspend their cyber security commercials until this story has run its course. FNC covered this story right after the Lockheed Martin commercial ran. Too funny for words.

meci on July 8, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I carry a bad personal feeling about (S) Korea and computers. Back on a much older Windows operating system I was on a bender researching terror related words and my screen got plastered with animations. Someone who is a serious computer whiz suggested I open a DOS window, run pings and other tracers

My friend had no interest in my situation so I goofed around. Without any commands from me, a duplicate DOS window opened scrolling the identical tracers. No difference until I displayed Time in the phantom window. Expert friend said second window was time zone for area of S Korea. Made sense because some cookies and addresses I was tracing went to S korea

Expert assumed someone there was monitoring my DOS window and mistakenly mirrored his window on my pc

I got mad (stupid) and entered a message in the phantom window “Get the @#$%^ off my pc”

That was the end of my computer. It was so trashed I never recovered my hard drive

entagor on July 8, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Are we still blaming Bush?

BigMike252 on July 8, 2009 at 1:32 PM

You have to wonder if Kim’s son is behind this new round of North Korean aggression, considering Kim’s poor health and the fact that Kim Jong Un has recently been promoted to head the North Korean spy agency and has been named Kim’s successor.

This article even state’s that the younger Kim is responsible for the harsh punishment of the two American reporters.

To me it looks like we are now dealing with a new thuggish North Korean leader who is setting out to show us and the world what kind of leader he plans on being. Frankly, I think the little b*st*rd needs to be taught his manners.

OxyCon on July 8, 2009 at 1:44 PM

I don’t get the point of a DOS attack on government websites over a long weekend. I suspect it is really just our guys doing a perimeter check.

If NoKo really is stupid enough to let us know their capabilities and our weaknesses, then a politely worded thank you note is in order.

pedestrian on July 8, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Do you really think NK did this on their own? Obviously, NK is trying out some of China’s electronic warfare tools on the US and SK, to let the US know that China is calling the shots in Eastern Asia.

huckleberryfriend on July 8, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Time for a DDOS attack!

That was the end of my computer. It was so trashed I never recovered my hard drive

entagor on July 8, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Sorry to hear that. But seriously… when the DOS window popped up you were f*cked.

Chaz706 on July 8, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Like McCain/Palin would have stood for ANY of this bullshyte.

Elections have consequences.

RedNewEnglander on July 8, 2009 at 2:48 PM

You gotta be kidding me..
The CIA doesnt have a clue – thanks to obama threatening to sue any agent who might hurt the enemies feelings

The FBI is so filled with muslim and communist moles its a complete joke (again say anything and the FBI agent goes to jail) and the terrorists end up in bermuda..

The NSA is so busy with requests from the obama and democrats to SPY on American tea party protesters they dont have the bandwidth to even figure out where the attacks are comming from

and the Military is told by obama and the democrats to trail the North korean ship and basically
BEG them to pull over and allow and inspection..

and jimmy the creting carter, madeline dimwit, pelozi the witch and the rest of the creeps in our elected office
are so screwed up..

They believe
WE the citizens of the United States of America
Are the enemy..

http://www.veteranoutrage.com

veteranoutrage on July 8, 2009 at 9:17 PM

yes i know carter and dimwit dont technically work for obama
but isnt it funny that each time something happens
these 2 morons end up being flown over there
to make an agrement that later on the democrats can deny
saying (ohh we didnt know)

yea you morons you didnt know

veteranoutrage on July 8, 2009 at 9:19 PM

There is zero evidence that North Korea was behind the attack. The AP has removed any mention of North Korea from their article.

Here’s an article on the attacks that actually has some useful information (e.g. that it was just a modified version of the MyDoom Windows virus).

Mark Jaquith on July 9, 2009 at 3:36 AM

Watch out for Kim Jong’Mentally’-Il. He is crazy as a fox. While we are watching out for his mis-guided missiles, he’s playing with the ESC and Return keys, and remember he likes playing video games like ‘Thermo Nuclear War’ aka
War Games.

MSGTAS on July 9, 2009 at 10:42 AM