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South Korea again hit by cyber-attacks, as search for hackers intensifies

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Meanwhile, security analysts set to work unpacking the exact nature of the campaign, which appeared to have been launched by a relatively unsophisticated team of hackers. The majority of the problems that plagued South Korean and US websites were caused by denial-of-service attacks, a tactic that floods a network with so many requests, that the network effectively shuts down.

"Experts who examined code used in the attack say it appears to have been delivered to machines through the MyDoom worm, a piece of malware first discovered in January 2004 and appearing in numerous variants since," Kim Zetter wrote yesterday on Wired's website. "The Mytob virus might have been used, as well."

The rudimentary nature of the cyber-attack has led many analysts to conclude the campaign may have been a glorified publicity stunt, created to grab headlines around the globe.

According to Joe Stewart, director of malware research at SecureWorks, “Usually you see a [denial-of-service] attack against one or two sites and it will be for one of two reasons — they have some beef with those sites or they’re trying to extort money from those sites," Stewart told Zetter. "To just attack a wide array of government sites like this, especially high-profile, just suggests that maybe the entire point is just to get attention."

Assigning blame

The White House has declined to speculate as to the identify of the attackers, and South Korea says it is cooperating with the US investigation. But today, many in the US continued to point the blame at North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces. Some Republicans took the attacks as an opportunity to berate the Obama administration.

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