Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Associated Press via Google News
WASHINGTON (AP) — A widespread computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of the Treasury Department, the Secret Service and other U.S. agencies, and South Korean government sites also came under assault.
South Korean intelligence officials believe the attacks were carried out by North Korean or pro-Pyongyang forces. U.S. officials so far have refused to publicly discuss details of the attack or where it might have originated.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that its own Web site was among several commercial sites also hit.
The U.S. government sites, which included those of the Federal Trade Commission and the Transportation Department, were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week. South Korean Internet sites began experiencing problems Tuesday.
South Korea's National Intelligence Service, the nation's main spy agency, told a group of South Korean lawmakers Wednesday it believes that North Korea or North Korean sympathizers in the South were behind the attacks, according to an aide to one of the lawmakers briefed on the information.
The aide spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the information. The National Intelligence Service — South Korea's main spy agency — said it couldn't immediately confirm the report, but it said it was cooperating with American authorities.
Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, said the agency's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notice to federal departments and other partner organizations about the problems and "advised them of steps to take to help mitigate against such attacks."
Others familiar with the U.S. outage, which is called a denial of service attack, said the fact that the government Web sites were still being affected three days after it began signaled an unusually lengthy and sophisticated attack....(Remainder.)