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Several broadcasters, banks suffer suspected cyber attacks

AEN20130320006052315_01_iSouth Korea was trying to figure out the cause of massive computer network failures at major TV stations and banks Wednesday, but nothing has been determined yet, including whether North Korea was involved in the suspected cyber attacks, government officials and police said.

At least three broadcasters — KBS, MBC and YTN — and two banks — Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup — reported to the National Police Agency (NPA) that their computer networks were entirely halted around 2 p.m. for unknown reasons, police said.

“Reports have been made simultaneously so we have dispatched investigators to the scene,” a police officer handling cyber-terrorism at the NPA said, adding that officers will review all possibilities, including a cyber attack.

The national security office at Cheong Wa Dae has been briefed by police and other related agencies on the damage and possible causes of the network paralysis at TV stations KBS, MBC and YTN as well as Shinhan and Nonghyup banks, a key presidential official said.

“We are now trying to determine the cause of the network paralysis,” the official said, adding that it has not yet been determined whether North Korea was involved in the incident.

As Seoul’s telecom operators said that hacking was suspected in the unusual simultaneous network crashes at several broadcasters and banks, South Korea’s military said it has upgraded its information surveillance status by one notch. The defense ministry said its computer network was operating normally as of late Wednesday afternoon.

The National Computing and Information Agency (NCIA), which oversees all the computer networks of government organizations, said its system was working normally without any errors.

“There was no abnormality detected at the computer networks of each administrative agency and local government,” an official at the NCIA said, adding that all the intranet and Internet were operating normally.

South Korea has accused North Korea of carrying out a series of cyber attacks on the web sites of government agencies and financial institutions over the past few years, though the North denied the allegations.

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