U.S. & South Korea web sites suffer heavy attacks

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

8 July 2009: In an exclusive interview with an intelligence source involved in keeping the infrastructure of the Internet safe from external attacks, the Northeast Intelligence Network learned that “the worst may be yet to come.” According to this cyber security source speaking on the strict condition of anonymity from his Virginia office, the cyber attacks began to appear on July 3rd, initially appearing to originate from computers in the Asia Pacific region. They first appeared as “denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting U.S. and South Korean government Internet servers, and were reported to have “peaked” during the Independence Day holiday weekend.

Not so, according to this high-ranking intelligence official. “I wouldn’t say that we are out of the woods yet, not by a long shot. In fact, our latest assessment shows that this is a sustained attack and we are still being hit,” he added. “These cyber attacks are indeed nasty, launched in a very well organized manner by a formidable enemy. It’s far from being over.”

In addition to key areas of infrastructure, the attacks are also being directed at the White House, the New York Stock Exchange and key command and control computers at the Pentagon.  Frankly, we are not entirely certain how many of our systems have been affected or the full scope of the attacks. We are still closing some vulnerabilities, but the attacks are continuing.

At a briefing of South Korea’s lawmakers today by the National Intelligence Service, South Korea’s principal spy agency, the blame for the attacks was placed on North Korea or their sympathizers. Meanwhile in the United States, some computer experts were taken by surprise about the effectiveness of these attacks.