Internet hoax: Web wasteland of North Korea claims to be victim of U.S. cyberattacks

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North Korea’s state media Friday said the isolated and impoverished communist autocracy had been the victim of cyberattacks by the United States and its allies.

“Intensive and persistent virus attacks are being made every day on Internet servers operated by the DPRK,” a commentary published by the official Korean Central News Agency said. DPRK is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

“It is nobody’s secret that the United States and [its] South Korean puppet regime are massively bolstering up cyber forces in a bid to intensify the[ir] subversive activities and sabotages against the DPRK,” the commentary continued.

It was not immediately clear what the news agency was alleging.

Some South Korean news outlets reported that the home pages of the Korean Central News Agency and of other regime media outlets had been inaccessible Wednesday, but all appeared to be working properly Thursday and Friday.

North Korea is widely believed to have among the lowest rates of Internet access of any population in the world.

In the past, North Korea has been accused of being behind large-scale but relatively crude cyber attacks against U.S. and South Korean websites.

Korean Central News Agency and the Communist Party’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper have carried increasingly bellicose rhetoric of late, accusing the U.S. and South Korea of staging preparations for war under the guise of joint military exercises.

Pyongyang said Monday it repealed the 1953 armistice that stopped fighting in the Korean War — although there has never been a formal peace treaty and two sides are technically still in a state of war.

Earlier this week, South Korea’s telecommunications commission raised the national cybersecurity threat level a notch.

It warned of possible Internet attacks from the North and cautioned South Koreans to keep their anti-virus programs and other software up to date and report any computer irregularities.

Last week, South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung visited the state-run Korea Internet and Security Agency, to highlight preparations against potential cyberattacks.

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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