The hacker collective Anonymous has been busy attacking North Korea for the last few days, and Thursday, a faction apparently hacked into the Twitter and Flickr accounts of Uriminzokkiri, one of the isolated nation’s primary propaganda websites.
Uriminzokkiri’s Flickr account was peppered with random Photoshopped images of Kim Jong-Un as a pig and pictures of Guy Fawkes masks, while the site’s Twitter account presents evidence that it’s been hacked.
In recent days, as has been covered in my daily Cyber Beat column, Anonymous claims to have launched DDoS attacks on multiple North Korean websites and obtained 15,000 membership records of Uriminzokkiri users. According to a statement the hacker collective posted – in which they also happen to call the USA “crooks” and claim that the “USA is a threat to world peace too, and direct democracy (or any kind of democracy) doesn’t exist there” – more attacks against North Korea are to come.
Anonymous also states the following in the same posting:
To Kim Jong-un:
So you feel the need to create large nukes and threaten half the world with them?
So you’re into demonstrations of power?, here is ours:
- We are inside your local intranets (Kwangmyong and others)
- We are inside your mailservers
- We are inside your webservers
Enjoy these few records as a proof of our access to your systems (random innocent citizens, collateral damage, because they were stupid enough to choose idiot passwords), we got all over 15k membership records of www.uriminzokkiri.com and many more. First we gonna wipe your data, then we gonna wipe your badass dictatorship “government”.
To the citizens of North Korea we suggest to rise up and bring these motherfuckers of a oppressive government down!
We are holding your back and your hand, while you take the journey to freedom, democracy and peace.
You are not alone.
Don’t fear us, we are not terrorist, we are the good guys from the internet. AnonKorea and all the other Anons are here to set you free.
However, an article at the Washington Post on Thursday explained that the possibility of hackers infiltrating North Korea’s internal communications/Intranet is highly unlikely. It’s not on the internet.
But some analysts seem to think Anonymous might be bluffing about grave attacks, Kim Jong Un-style, with no real indication they have the resources to carry them out. The claim that hackers have gotten into North Korea’s intranet system has raised a few eyebrows, for instance, since the network is insulated from the outside world and not accessible outside the country. You can’t get to it from the Internet because it’s not on the Internet. Here’s Charlie Custer of the blog Tech in Asia on Anonymous’s claim that “we are inside your local intranets, (Kwangmyong and others)”:
Accessing Kwangmyong is not theoretically impossible; it might be accomplished by slipping some code past the censors who scan and scrub content from the world wide web before re-posting it to Kwangmyong. It also might be possible to infect the computers of North Korean officials who are privileged enough to have access to the “real” internet in addition to Kwangmyong (such access is not common and virtually unheard of for ordinary citizens). Without any proof of such access, Anonymous’s claim seems dubious at best.
While the efforts of Anonymous are not expected to be of any meaningful benefit to the average North Korean – in fact, without internet access they’re unlikely to even be aware of such actions – I suppose the remainder of the world gets to observe the antics for whatever they are.