South Korea Blames Malware For Bank And TV Network Failures

Seoul gangnam buddha south korea © SeanPavonePhoto

Was this a cyber-attack from North Korea?

Malicious code caused a network failure at TV stations and banks in South Korea yesterday, prompting fears that a cyber attack is underway.

Three broadcasters and two banks were hit, with some ATM machines taken offline, according to reports which blame malware for the trouble.

The source of the attack has not been named, but the incident comes a week after North Korea claimed it had been hit by a US cyber-attack, and threatened to retaliate against both the US and South Korea, which it regards as a “puppet regime”.

South Korea Seoul © SeanPavonePhoto /

South Korea hit by attack

The “virus” attack hit Shinhan and Nonghyup banks, disabling some ATM machines, and also took down servers at three TV stations – KBS, MBS and YTN.  All the organisations’ networks were “partially or entirely crippled”.

No government networks or servers were affected, and neither were any essential services such as hospitals or electricity supplies. A cyber attack on South Korea – the most digital nation in the world – could be particularly severe in its effects, however.

“We do not rule out the possibility of North Korea being involved,” South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a statement.

Nonghyup Bank was one of the victims of denial of service (DDoS) attacks which hit South Korea in 2011 after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

“The cause of yesterday’s network problems are still unclear,” said Ross Brewer, vice president  of security monitoring firm LogRhythm. “Without confirmation of the source of cyber attacks, inaccurate finger-pointing can occur – and given the current diplomatic tensions between South and North Korea, this can lead to unwanted military involvement. As such, further forensic analysis of the breach is required.”

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