South Korean TV and bank networks paralyzed, say reports

The South Korean government is looking at the possible involvement of North Korea in what is a suspected cyberattack

Computer networks of banks and some broadcasters in South Korea were hit Wednesday in what is suspected to be a cyberattack, according to news reports.

At least three broadcasters and two banks reported to the National Police Agency that their computer networks were entirely halted for unknown reasons around 2 p.m. local time, Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting a police official.

Investigators dispatched to the sites will review all possibilities, including a cyberattack.

Yonhap quoted an official of public broadcaster KBS as stating that it cannot do any business since the computer network went down at 2 p.m.

The paralysis of the computer networks in South Korea comes after arch-rival North Korea had a day-and-a-half-long outage in Internet connectivity last week, which the country's official media blamed on international hacking. Connectivity was restored on Friday to the country's under-developed Internet network, which has just 1,024 IP (Internet Protocol) addresses.

Cheong Wa Dae, the office of the president of South Korea, is looking at the possibility of the involvement of North Korea in the paralysis of bank and broadcaster networks, and has said that malware was the cause of the collapse of the networks, Yonhap reported. There is, however, no information about the problems on the websites of the President's office or of the country's computer monitoring center.

South Korea's military is said to have upgraded its information surveillance status by one notch. The country has often charged North Korea with hacking into government systems and those of financial institutions over the last few years, a charge that North Korea has denied.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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