October 29, 2014 13:11
Some 20,000 smartphones in South Korea are infected with malicious apps as a result of a recent North Korean hacking campaign.
National Intelligence Service data revealed on Tuesday say the apps were posted by North Korean hackers on South Korean websites from May 19 to Sept. 16 this year.
The NIS claims it has taken steps to delete the apps, update vaccines and block the sources of hacking attacks. It did not reveal who the targets of the attacks were.
Once infected with the malicious apps, smartphones are reportedly vulnerable to eavesdropping and clandestine videotaping. There have been a lot of worries about the possibility of the North hacking into smartphones, but this is the first time that specific cases have been revealed.
The NIS also said a total of 75,473 cyber attacks were launched on government and public agencies from 2010 to September this year.
The NIS said the sources of cyber attacks are difficult to ferret out as hackers use computer networks in several countries to hide their identity. But it believes a considerable number of them were launched by the North.
"Smartphones are vulnerable to the point that a simple malicious app makes it possible to conduct eavesdropping or clandestine videotaping," said Shin In-kyun, the head of the Korea Defense Network. "There are lots of ways the North can hack into smartphones here."
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