It’s a busy tech news day in South Korea. Fresh after the news that Google’s office in Seoul got raided by the authorities comes word that North Korea has launched raids of its own – cyber attacks against its southern enemy.
In an act described by a South Korean prosecutor as “unprecedented cyber terror”, North Korea launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against a Southern banking co-operative.
These attacks – known as “DDoS” – are a basic tool in the cyber warfare armoury. They use simple brute force to overwhelm the web servers hosting particular websites or services with incoming traffic.
Simple they might be, but if the service being targeted is important enough to a lot of people, they can be effective and disruptive.
North Korea’s bank attack certainly was. Millions of the bank’s customers were locked out of their ATMs and credit cards for days on end. It’s a very different kind of warfare – no deaths, no blood, but enormous inconvenience for a large number of people, and plenty of economic damage.
North Korea ought to be on its guard, however. Two can play at the DDoS attack game, and it would be trivially simple for South Korea to return the favour.