A "cyber attack" that brought down government websites in the United States and South Korea is the work of the North Koreans, according South Korean intelligence officials. The attack began on July 4th, and is still affecting some sites today.
The Associated Press obtained a list of targeted websites from security experts analyzing the attack. They include the White House, the Pentagon the New York Stock Exchange, the National Security Agency, Homeland Security Department, State Department, the Nasdaq stock market and The Washington Post. Many of the organizations appeared to successfully block the attacks.
Some of the sites — such as the Treasury Department, Federal Trade Commission and Secret Service — are still reporting problems.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service, the nation's main spy agency, told South Korean lawmakers it believes that North Korea or North Korean sympathizers in the South were behind the attacks, according to an aide to one of the lawmakers briefed on the information. U.S. officials so far have declined to comment on the attacks.
But is this just a bunch of hype? Jim Harper of the Cato Institute writes:
"Allegedly mounted by North Korea, this attack puts various “cyber” threats in perspective. Most Americans will probably not know about it, and the ones who do will learn of it by reading about it. Only a tiny percentage of people will notice the absence of the Web sites attacked. (An update to the story linked above notes that several agencies and entities “blunted” the attacks, as well-run Web sites will do.)"
Harper goes on to say launching a cyber attack is a waste of time:
"This is the face of “cyberwar,” which has little strategic value and little capacity to do real damage. This episode also underscores the fact that “cyberterrorism” cannot exist – because this kind of attack isn’t terrifying."