THE ANNIVERSARY of the outbreak of the Korean War has seen website takedowns and defacements in both North and South Korea.
South Korean news reports indicate that attackers have targeted government websites, in some cases altering web pages and in others launching denial of service attacks rendering websites inaccessible.
The attacks appear to be targeting both nations on the Korean Peninsula, though it is not clear whether the attacks on South Korean websites were performed as retaliation or were in fact a part of the same campaign.
Also unclear is the role being played by hackers who claim association with the Anonymous collective. Anonymous linked groups have promoted #OpNorthKorea, a coordinated hacktivist attack on North Korea government websites that did not involve any South Korea targets.
Though some attacks on South Korea websites referred to Anonymous, Twitter accounts associated with the hacktivists in South Korea have denied participation in attacks on the nation's government.
Rik Ferguson, VP of security research at Trend Micro, noted some distinct differences between the two campaigns that could suggest the involvement of separate groups.
"The attacks on the North Korean targets were expected as a part of Anonymous' OpNorthKorea, as is often the case, the campaign had been announced in advance and the attack appeared to be widely successful with many major North Korean web sites becoming unavailable," he explained.
"The attacks on South Korean sites appear somewhat different, less about denial of service and more about access, exploitation and defacement."
The attacks come as both nations mark the anniversary of the Korean War. The conflict ran from 1950 to 1953 and saw the peninsula remain split into two countries. Tensions between the two nations have remained high ever since.
North Korea has long been believed to be active in cyber warfare activities and has repeatedly been accused by South Korea of targeting government websites with attacks. µ