By Cho Jin-seo
Foreigners do not see South Korea as an axis of cyber terrorism
anymore as its efforts to contain computer hackers are taking effect.
The Ministry of Information and Communication said the number of
hacking attempts to penetrate computer servers of foreign firms or
governments has been falling since 2002.
South Korea was ranked ninth in the list of source countries of cyber
attacks last year, much improved from 2002 when it ranked second after
the United States, the ministry said citing a report from U.S-based
Internet security firm Symantec. It was ranked seventh in 2003 and has
stayed at the ninth spot since 2004.
``South Korea has been working to wipe out its disgraceful image as
the source of cyber terrorism, since the government opened a cyber
crime watching system in 2003 which monitors the Internet network 24
hours a day,=A1=AF=A1=AF the Ministry said in a statement.
Even Bill Gates praised South Korea=A1=AFs efforts to uproot cyber
terrorists. Last Wednesday, a group of Microsoft=A1=AFs executives from
its Asian headquarters visited the Seoul Metropolitan Police and
presented a plaque signed by Gates to the counter-cyber crime unit.
Gates, founder of the world=A1=AFs largest software maker, has expressed
his gratitude to the Korean cyber- detectives for busting three gangs
of international hackers last year. The gangs, including eight Chinese
nationals, hacked online games sites and some 50,000 PCs to steal game
items and then resell them. Police said the hackers made some 500
million won that way.
The victims reported to Microsoft the damage they suffered through
their Windows and e-mail services, and the firm cooperated with South
Korean police in tracking down the hackers in China, the police said.
``At the time, Microsoft highly evaluated the South Korean police in
their dealing with cyber crimes,=A1=AF=A1=AF Kim Jae-kyu, head of the cyber
crime investigation team, told reporters. ``They said that they have
had troubles when working with police from other countries because
they usually lack technical understanding. As South Korea is a leader
of the information technology, it will lead the world in the cyber
crime investigation, too.=A1=AF=A1=AF
The number of the computer hacking incidents in South Korea decreased
from 26,179 in 2003 to 24,297 in 2004, according to the Ministry of
Information and Communication.
It is expected to bounce back in 2005 to around 30,000, but many of
the crimes are less-serious phishing cases, where hackers try to lure
Internet users to fake Web sites to steal private information such as
bank account numbers, rather than breaking into computer systems.
Spam mail circulation also decreased. The average South Korean
received 50 spam mails a day in 2003, but the number dropped to 16.8
after major portal sites started to charge users for sending massive
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