Researchers at McAfee this month concluded that the latest attacks were tied to earlier ones against South Korean interests, and that the high-profile DDoS and data destruction attacks on major South Korean banks, media outlets, and other entities were cover for the theft of military secrets about South Korea and the U.S. McAfee says cyberespionage actors posed as hacktivists, knocking websites offline and wiping hard drives in the so-called Dark Seoul DDoS and data annihilation attacks.
McAfee dubbed the four-year spying operation "Operation Troy," which also targeted U.S. Forces Korea, Republic of Korea, the Korean Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Defense, according to McAfee.
Officials from the South Korean Internet and Security Agency say they discovered an IP address used in the latest attack that was identical to one used in other attacks by North Korea, according to multiple international media reports. The malware and attack methods also matched those of previous attacks by North Korea, according to Reuters.
Park Jae-moon, a director-general at the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, was quoted in a BBC article, saying that "[A] North Korean IP [address] was found in passages of the malignant codes and some of the damaged organisations. I can say this is the decisive evidence."
Park said the analysis came from malware collected from infected machines as well as Internet addresses used in the attack.
North Korean officials to date have said they are a victim of cyberattacks and were not behind the attacks on South Korea. As of this posting, officials there had not commented on the South Korean findings.
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