N.Korea in Clandestine Web Campaign Over Cheonan

      June 02, 2010 08:12

      North Korea has launched a cyber campaign denying all involvement in the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in the face of crushing evidence to the contrary. Using stolen IDs of South Koreans, the North is spreading claims on South Korean portal sites that the sinking was fabricated.

      A South Korean intelligence officer on Tuesday said Pyongyang is posting articles on major websites denying all accusations. "The North used stolen residence registration numbers and IDs of South Koreans," he said.

      The posts are broadly the same as a statement from the North's National Defense Commission, its top policy body. It was uploaded on the state-run North Korean website Uriminzokkiri.

      Another article which the North posted on a Korean-Chinese website under the title "Organizations that have benefited from the Cheonan sinking" has also found its way to some South Korean portal sites.

      Kim Sung-min, the president of Free North Korea Radio, said, "There has been a sudden increase in the number of posts calling the Cheonan incident a fabrication on our website. We suspect that there are systematic propaganda tactics behind these articles."

      The North seems to be using South Korean residence registration numbers and IDs stolen in past computer hacking attacks. South Korean intelligence believes that the North used mainly the personal details of elementary schoolchildren, housewives and elderly people.

      A security official said, "Ahead of the local elections slated for Wednesday in South Korea, the North has mobilized agencies handling South Korean affairs and media outlets almost every day to claim that the Cheonan sinking was a plot against the North. To make it look as if many South Koreans sympathize with the claim, they are spreading unfounded rumors by disguising themselves as South Korean web users."

      Last week, the North sent faxes and e-mails to some South Korean organizations such as the Buddhist Cheontae Order and the committee for the implementation of the June 15, 2000 joint North-South declaration. The faxes and e-mails merely parrot a statement by a spokesman for the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland which said that the findings of the international probe of the sinking were cooked up.

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