By Ellen Nakashima, Brian Krebs and Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writers
July 9, 2009
U.S. and South Korean authorities yesterday were investigating the
source of attacks on at least 35 government and commercial Web sites in
the two countries, officials said.
In the United States, the attacks primarily targeted Internet sites
operated by major government agencies, including the departments of
Homeland Security and Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration and
the Federal Trade Commission, according to several computer security
researchers. But The Washington Post's site was also affected.
South Korea's main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, said
in a statement that it thought the attacks were carried out "at the
level of a certain organization or state" but did not elaborate. The
South Korean news agency Yonhap and the JoongAng Daily, a major
newspaper in Seoul, reported that intelligence officials had told South
Korean lawmakers that North Korea or its sympathizers were prime
suspects. A spokesman for the intelligence service said that it could
not confirm the report.
The attacks were described as a "distributed denial of service," a
relatively unsophisticated form of hacking in which personal computers
are commanded to overwhelm certain Web sites with a blizzard of data.
The effort did not involve the theft of sensitive information or the
disabling of crucial operational systems, government and security
experts said. But they noted that it was widespread, resilient and aimed
at government sites.
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