Sunday, April 7, 2013

More on the nature of Korea's cyber-war

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are at a high level, thanks in no small part to the manner in which news is disseminated in the new, digitally networked environment in which we live.   Yesterday I watched most of a "Situation Room" special on the Korean situation on CNN.  The segments were informative, featuring interviews with various experts and a lot of current or recent video taken within North Korea.  Inevitably one of the topics was the "cyber-war" that is taking place alongside the "real world" by the U.S., South Korean and North Korean military, among other actors.  Although like many people, I get much of my news over the internet, I still watch television news (CNN, the BBC, Korean news channels, etc.) and value its immediate and visual character. The "Situation Room" special actually showed segments of the video that the hacking group, Anonymous, posted to YouTube.  A screen capture of that video was published yesterday by The Joongang Daily (click on the graphic at left to see a full size version)
The Joongang Daily also published some interesting detail about the information made public by Anonymous after it hacked the North Korean site "Uriminzokkiri."  As I noted in a short post yesterday, that information included records of the web sites 9,001 members, about 5,000 of whose e-mail addresses appeared to be in South Korea.  The article included the breakdown of those addresses as shown in the graphic below (click to see a larger version) .
The Joongang Daily Article also noted that the police, prosecutors and the National Intelligence Service (NIS) were checking whether the South Korean members had violated the nation's national security law. "If a South Korean exchanged messages with Pyongyang after becoming a member of the Web site, it would be a violation of the NSL’s Article No. 8, which prohibits people from communicating with people in the North and which can be punished with up to 10 years in prison. Posting words or images that praise North Korea is a violation of Article No. 7 and can be punished with a jail term of up to seven years, according to the NIS."   The national security law is the main reason why South Korea ranks high on internet filtering as measured by the Open Net Initiative, but only in the political category, as noted in an earlier post.

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