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North Korea implicated in malware attacks on airport

05 Jun 2012
Concept image representing virus malware

Agents from North Korea and a man from South Korea have been accused of using malware-laced games to conduct attacks on a South Korean airport.

According to South Korea's JoongAng Daily, local law enforcement believes that the group conspired to construct a botnet which launched distributed denial of service attacks on systems at the Incheon International Airport in 2011.

Authorities allege that the man, identified by the surname "Jo," met with members of North Korea's General Reconnaissance in order to develop a series of games which also contained Trojan payloads.

The games were then sold by the man to online gaming services in South Korea, allowing the malware to be covertly installed on end-user systems. Infected systems were then ordered by a command server to attack the airport in an effort to disrupt flight traffic.

Police are also investigating whether the malware also harvested user details from the infected machines.

The incident is the latest in a growing number of malware attacks which target vital infrastructure. Last week, the security world was abuzz over a series of attacks targeting industrial systems in the Middle East.

Following the discovery of the highly-complex Flame malware and the revelation that the US government oversaw the development and distribution of the Stuxnet attacks, researchers and analysts were left to wonder if state-sponsored cyberattacks are far more prevalent than previously believed.

While government-sponsored cyber defence and counter-attack operations have long been known to have existed, the complexity of attacks such as Flame have lead researchers to believe that such efforts are being taken seriously and put to real world use.

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Shaun Nichols
About

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for V3.co.uk. He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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