Murphy's Law: Spear Fishing In Korea


September 9,2008:  South Korea alerted all of its personnel, especially officers, to beware of official looking email, with a file attached, sent to them, but that they weren't expecting. It seems that over the Summer, North Korean intelligence operatives have been "spear fishing," which is an Cyber War technique that sends official looking email to specific individuals, with an attachment which, if opened, secretly installs a program that sends files from the email recipients PC to the spear fishers computer. In this case, the South Korean quickly discovered that the sender of these emails was North Korea, and it was all an effort to obtain secret military information.

There were apparently several source for the email addresses. One was a recently arrested North Korean spy, who had gotten into the country in 2001 by pretending to be a refugee from North Korea. Actually, the woman was a highly trained North Korean spy who had made a career of seducing South Korea army officers, and collecting email addresses from them. That was not her main assignment, but it was all she was good at. She had been tracked taking trips to China to turn over these addresses, and other data, to North Korean agents. But there were far more addresses used in the Cyber War attack than the female spy had collected.  South Korean intel officials know of other sources (Internet criminals who use several techniques to obtain prime, as in military officers or business executives, email addresses ) who can provide the addresses.

In response to this attack, South Korea reminded everyone that the networks within military headquarters were not connected to the Internet, and that new security software would be installed to improve the chances of detecting and halting future attacks. Meanwhile, North Korea, which has practically no Internet access, is much less vulnerable to spear fishing, or any other kind of Cyber War attack. But, then, North Korea is a starving, economically ruined, militarily declining, wreck of a country. Information War victories over South Korea are pretty hollow as a result.


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