South Korea Says North Korea Hacked Email Accounts of 56 State Officials

South Korean investigators revealed this morning that they detected over 90 attempts to hack the email accounts of various state officials, of which 56 were successful.

State prosecutors say they are sure that North Korea was behind the attacks. Officials claim the hackers used the same techniques they employed in similar attacks they carried out against South Korean officials back in 2014.

Hacker used spear-phishing emails and 27 phishing sites

According to details released to the South Korean press, the investigators discovered 27 phishing sites that the attackers had used to lure officials and collect their login credentials for various email services.

Officials explain they took down the phishing sites with the help of local Internet service providers.

The hackers supposedly used spear-phishing disguised as emails coming from fellow workers asking for access to critical information.

Attackers targeted South Korean diplomats, security officials, and journalists attached to various state agencies.

“It is important (for government officials) to refrain from using private email accounts for official work, and they should frequently change their email passwords,” a prosecution official said in a press conference, as reported by Yonhap News. “When officials carry out important tasks, it is desirable for them to take some security steps such as temporarily shutting down the internet.”

South Korea accused North Korea of hacking last week as well

This is the second cyber-incident South Korean authorities have pinned on the North in less than seven days. Last week, officials revealed that North Korean hackers had breached and stolen data from the InterPark online shopping portal.

The hackers tried to blackmail the online retailer for $2.66 million, threatening that, otherwise, they would leak the personal details of over 10 million shoppers.

This attack happened in May, and officials said they found details like IP addresses, hacking techniques, and language in the ransom emails that were specific to North Korea’s hacking units.



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