Thursday 21 June 2012

North Korea uses computer game to attack the South

If you haven't read about this yet, it's really pretty incredible. Admittedly, after all the recent coverage of Stuxnet and Flame, a country launching a DDoS attack is hardly impressive. In fact, it's almost laughable. That said, there are a couple really intriguing aspects to this story.

If you aren't impressed that North Korea launched a DDoS attack,
 keep in mind that they're hardly using electricity, let alone the internet.
A South Korean newspaper reported yesterday that North Korea has been launching DDoS attacks on a South Korean airport using malware spread through an online video game.

According to the Korea JoongAng Daily, a South Korean video game distributor identified only by his surname, Jo, commissioned a North Korean company in China to develop a new video game. As it turns out, the North Koreans were actually part of the North’s Reconnaissance General Bureau – a fact that Jo was aware of.
 Jo purchased dozens of computer game software for tens of millions of won, which was a third the cost of the same kind of software in the South. The games were infected with malignant viruses, of which Jo knew, an official at the police agency said. 
Jo sold the games to South Korean operators of online games. When people played the games, the viruses used their computers as zombies, through which the cyberattack was launched. [Korea JoongAng Daily]

It seems the big take-away from this story is that cyber warfare is hardly limited to wealthy nations. If North Korea is doing it, you know everyone else is too. But even more importantly, the delivery method for the malware – a video game – is actually pretty brilliant. As we saw in the use of thumb drives to distribute Stuxnet in Iranian facilities, the delivery is often the most important aspect of targeted malware. As users become increasingly wary of traditional delivery techniques like fraudulent websites and phishing scams, it’s not a stretch to imagine we’ll see many more creative attempts at distribution in the very near future.

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