Hacker Attacks on Cheong Wa Dae on the Rise

Cyber attacks targeting the computers of Cheong Wa Dae officials are increasing as the G20 Summit in Seoul approaches, officials say. Even the home computers of senior Cheong Wa Dae officials have apparently become targets.

Officials believe North Korean hackers based in China are behind the attacks. "North Korean hackers are increasingly accessing the website of the G20 Summit preparatory committee," said one Cheong Wa Dae official. "They appear to be gathering data of lower importance, but we are keeping our eyes open for any sudden moves."

As the hacking attempts intensify, officials are changing their computers every six months, and security officials at the presidential office are having their cars screened every month for bugs planted by North Korean agents.

According to the National Intelligence Service, North Korea has a 1,000-strong hacker unit. There have been 9,200 hacking attempts targeting the computers of the G20 Summit preparatory committee and other government agencies this year. Since June, the government has been running a special cyber defense team to prevent attacks against major private and public computer networks.

The government has also stepped up vigilance against terrorist attacks on human targets by North Korea and other international terrorist groups. "North Korea is unlikely to carry out acts of provocation when Chinese President Hu Jintao is in Seoul, but we are taking precautions for any eventuality," a government official said.

A Cheong Wa Dae security official said, "There appear to be around 14 suspected terrorist groups including al-Qaeda to be watched out for, and we've stepped up alert levels for these groups." The government is also looking out for parcel bombs after explosives were found on a U.S.-bound cargo plane and letter bombs were sent to some leaders in Europe.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 04, 2010 12:45 KST