Friday, March 29, 2013

The raging cyber war in Korea

I've observed with considerable interest the cyber war that is taking place these days in Korea.  I use "cyber war" here with reference not only to malware and denial of service attacks, but also to the "war of words," in official statements of the North Korean and other governments, and also YouTube videos. Just as many of the founders of the modern field of communication research studied propaganda during World War II, what we are witnessing today is a form of propaganda and information warfare.  The new element is that the war is taking place in cyberspace.
Initial reports of the cyber attacks that disrupted several major South Korean banks and broadcasting organizations traced them to Chinese IP addresses, but it is not so easy at all to track down the original source of such attacks, given the inherently decentralized structure of the internet.   A study released by the Korea Internet and Security Agency ranked the top countries of origin for DDoS attacks as shown in the accompanying graphic (click on the graphic to see a full size version).  During the last six months of 2012, India, Brazil, Thailand, Japan and Iran were the top five sources according to IP addresses.
In addition to the cyber-warfare that targets businesses and their administrative networks or websites, the latest skirmishes have also involved a "war of words" and other symbolic gestures.  In recent days, North Korea has made repeated public announcements about the specific state of its military readiness and these, not surprisingly have been covered by most major news media around the world.   South Korea and the United States have responded with gestures that have included nuclear submarines and stealth bombers taking part in joint U.S.-ROK military exercises.   Also, North Korea is more frequently using its YouTube channel for distribution of videos, such as the following one, published widely by media around the world.

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