Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Cyber Attacks Hit U.S. Government Sites; North Korea Eyed

Attacks crippled at least 11 U.S. government and private Web sites for much of the weekend. No data is believed to have been stolen.

Law enforcement officials in the U.S. and South Korea were stepping up their efforts Wednesday to halt a rash of denial of service cyber attacks against more than 25 government agencies and companies. While the source of the attacks wasn't pinpointed as of Wednesday morning, officials said they suspected the attacks originated in North Korea or from groups sympathetic to North Korea.

In the U.S., some government agencies including the Treasury Department, the Transportation Department and the Federal Trade Commission were down for much of the July 4th holiday weekend. Some sites were said to still be affected, although US officials said they believed no data had been stolen.

"We see attacks on federal networks every day, and measures in place have minimized the impact to federal Web sites," Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Amy Kudwa told the Washington Post. The newspaper reported that it, too, had been a target of the attacks, although the Post's Web site was up and functioning well Wednesday. A spokesperson for the FTC said its cyber attack countermeasures performed well and the agency's web sites have been up and running most of the time.

According to the South Korean National Intelligence Service, the coordinated attack occurred when some 20,000 computers -- most of them in South Korea -- were taken over in the cyber attack. The computers had been infected with rogue software and were remotely ordered to repeatedly bombard the targeted sites.

If the attacks did indeed originate in North Korea, the government there would likely have been involved. The North Korean telecom service is generally available only to government employees. The communist country has relatively modern telecom facilities. For instance, Egypt's Orascom Telecom recently deployed a 3G wireless network in North Korea.

North Korea has embarked on a belligerent campaign in recent months, provoking neighboring countries and the international community with a stepped up missile campaign.

At last count, 11 US Web sites had been targeted. Even the White House was hit, although officials said there was no disruption of service on the site. Other federal agencies targeted included the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Private sites that were affected included those operated by the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq exchange.

Several South Korean government agencies as well as banks and newspapers were also hit by the attacks, although the South Korean intelligence agency said all sites were back to normal Wednesday morning.

Black Hat is like no other security conference. It happens in Las Vegas, July 25-30. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1 allows Local File Inclusion (LFI), a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-15931. This leads to unauthenticated code execution.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Cacti through 1.2.7 is affected by multiple instances of lib/functions.php unsafe deserialization of user-controlled data to populate arrays. An authenticated attacker could use this to influence object data values and control actions taken by Cacti or potentially cause memory corruption in the PHP ...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An issue was discovered in Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1. An flaw in the encryption implementation exists, allowing for all encrypted data stored within the database to be decrypted.
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
A reflected XSS issue was discovered in DAViCal through 1.1.8. It echoes the action parameter without encoding. If a user visits an attacker-supplied link, the attacker can view all data the attacked user can view, as well as perform all actions in the name of the user. If the user is an administrat...
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
The Scoutnet Kalender plugin 1.1.0 for WordPress allows XSS.