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Friday
Dec092011

Hacking Controversy Tops Sex Scandals in South Korea

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision(SEOUL) -- South Koreans have been reeling from a series of scandals that have titillated and angered them.

There was the prosecutor caught accepting a Mercedes-Benz and a Chanel bag from her lawyer boyfriend in exchange for legal favors; both were married. Then there was a former Miss Korea who became a prominent TV host and had a sex video posted by a vengeful ex-boyfriend.

But what has shocked the country was the allegation -- confirmed by police Friday -- that a 27-year-old assistant to a ruling party lawmaker masterminded a cyber attack on Korea’s election watchdog’s website.

These distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) on government domains in the past few years were thought to have been, and at times proved to have been, carried out by North Koreans, spearheaded by heir apparent Kim Jong-Un, son of leader Kim Jong-Il.

But on Oct. 26, Seoul citizens getting ready to go to the polls to elect a new mayor found that the National Election Commission website showing information on voting booth locations was inaccessible. The homepage of opposition candidate, Park Won-soon who later was elected, was also hacked.

The allegations began last week and Friday police concluded that the aide identified only by the surnamed Kong was responsible for the cyber-assaults.  Kong, according to police, confessed to having hired three hackers and a fourth man to help the ruling Grand National Party (GNP) candidate get elected by confusing young voters -- who were strong backers of opposition Park Won-soon -- from finding polling places before going to school and work.

Suspicions remain because DDoS attacks involve hundreds of computers depending on the size of the target server. Hiring specialist hackers is expensive, way above what an average aide in a political party could afford alone.

The opposition Democratic Party believes that the cyber-assault was backed by GNP officials.

Public anger over the past week forced the head of the ruling conservative party to step down. In a desperate measure to stop the fast-sinking support, the party is also considering ideas to disperse and revamp with a new name.

South Korea elects parliamentary members in April and a new president in December next year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio