On July 4th United States government computers were hacked by unknown persons. The computer attacks effected the US Department of Treasury, the Federal Trade Commission, the Transportation Department, the Secret Service and other government agencies. Reports have also surfaced indicating the attack spread as wide as the Pentagon and the New York Stock Exchange. It is unclear how many denile-of-service attacks effected US computers; the White House has only acknowledged that a cyber attack did indeed occur. Yet three-days after the initial security breach some government computers were still infected, leaving people wondering how widespread and serious of an attack this really was.
On July 3rd South Korean government websites were hacked by unknown persons. The National Intelligence Service (NIS), South Korea’s largest spy agency, has confirmed that the President and the National Assembly websites as well as the Ministry of National Defense computers were compromised. Major banks in South Korea, the Shinhan Bank and Korea Exchange Bank, were also hacked last week.
According to reports, the US Department of Transportation’s internet was down for two days and the Federal Trade Commission even on Tuesday only had internet access 30% of the time. The director of Keynote Systems Ben Rushlo said, “This is very strange. You don’t see this. Having something 100 percent down for a 24-hour-plus period is a pretty significant event.” Rushlo added, “The fact that it lasted for so long and that it was so significant in its ability to bring the site down says something about the site’s ability to fend off (an attack) or about the severity of the attack.”
The US has yet to release a statement as to what caused the cyber event yet South Korean parliament members have made the suggestion that North Korea or North Korean sympathizers are behind the global cyber attacks.
We have heard so much about China with the alleged use of GhostNets on the Tibetans, Russia’s alleged cyber attack on Georgia a few years back, and the UK’s employment of ‘naughty’ cyber soldiers. And so it should be asked, is this just the beginning? After all its been since May when North Korea allegedly performed a nuclear test and since July when North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles, with little US response or reaction. Is this North Korea’s attempt to begin a cyber war?
As the President Obama returns to the White House from his trip to Moscow, perhaps this global event will give him the impetus to finally select his cyber coordinator, it has now become evident that one is needed. With the increase in cyber attacks some are also wondering, is this just the push the NSA needs to utilize Einstein 3 to its fullest extent?