[Paleopsych] CNETAsia: Australia vulnerable to Korean hacking army

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Sun Oct 17 00:29:07 UTC 2004

Australia vulnerable to Korean hacking army

    By [3]Munir Kotadia, Special to CNETAsia

    An army of more than 500 hackers hired by the North Korean military
    could find Australian businesses a "softer target" than their U.S. or
    European-based counterparts, according to security experts.

    The hacking armys mission is to break into South Korean, Japanese and
    American corporate networks to gather intelligence and steal trade
    secrets, according to reports.

    But security experts are concerned because although Australian-based
    firms hold the same intellectual property as their U.S. and EU-based
    offices, they are not as paranoid about security.

    A U.S. security expert who requested anonymity said Australia could
    provide a "back door" into corporate networks and provide the North
    Koreans with intellectual property worth billions of dollars.

    "Countries like China and North Korea are not exactly poster children
    for copyright enforcement. North Koreas economic position is not
    favorable and that makes it more dangerous. They want the ability to
    manufacture goods better and cheaper," the security expert said.

    Terry O'Keeffe, Leader of the Asia Pacific Cyber Attack Tiger Team at
    telecommunications giant Cable and Wireless, said Australia could be
    seen as a softer target than the U.S.

    "We are a trusted ally--along with the UK, Canada and New Zealand--but
    we are not quite as paranoid as the Americans," said OKeeffe.

    A spokesperson from the Australian Security Intelligence Organization
    (ASIO), which is responsible for warning the government of any
    potential threats to national security, admitted to ZDNet Australia
    that electronic espionage attacks "happen all the time".

    The spokesperson said the ASIO is aware of the problem and is taking
    an interest in it, but would not be able to comment on anything not
    specifically mentioned in its annual report.

    However, Mikko Hyppönen, director of anti-virus research at European
    security firm F-Secure, is skeptical.

    "This is probably more boasting than a real threat. In the past we
    have seen similar claims from the Taiwanese and the East Timorese,"
    said Hyppönen.

    Munir Kotadia of [5]ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.


    3. http://ups.asia.cnet.com/c/as.ql.feedbackstory/asia.cnet.com/news@asia.cnet.com
    4. http://asia.cnet.com/news/security/0,39037064,39197226,00.htm
    5. http://www.zdnet.com.au/

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