When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
South Korea

North Korean Hackers Suspected After Major Cyber Attack on South Korean Banks, TV Stations



SEOUL - Two banks and three major broadcasting stations in South Korea went into shutdown mode on Wednesday in what is a suspected hacking from North Korea.

According to Korean news agency Yonhap, three broadcasters, three banks and two insurance firms reported to the National Police Agency that their computer networks were entirely halted at around 2 p.m. local time for unknown reasons. Woori Bank, a leading lender in Seoul, also came under an apparent hacking attack at the same time but managed to defend its computer networks through an internal system.

The state-run Korea Information Security Agency (KISA) said that skulls popped up on the screens of some computers – a strong indication that hackers planted a malicious code into the South Korean systems. It was only two and a half hours later that some computers were able to get back online.

The AP reports that Shinhan Bank’s online banking and ATMs suffered from the attack. The company could not conduct any customer activities at bank windows, nor retail and corporate banking.

Seoul is a largely cashless city and it was reported that a Starbucks in the center could only take cash payments so queues formed outside the coffee shops, as well as at the defunct ATMs nearby.

[rebelmouse-image 27086504 alt="""" original_size="360x480" expand=1]

A South Korean ATM. Photo by Excretion

An expert professor in the information Protection Department of Korea University, Lim Jong-in is quoted in the Korea Times as saying that “The hacking was not initiated at an individual level. An individual could hack into the network of one institution, but cannot conduct simultaneous attacks as happened.” When asked about the possibility of a North Korean attack, he replied, “Cyber terror is one of the easiest ways for them to attack the South as it does not damage humans.”

Tensions have been running high on the Korean peninsula during the past few weeks after the UN Security Council's ruling on North Korea’s nuclear weapon tests. Yonhap reports that the South has accused the North of carrying out cyber attacks over the past few years, although the North denies these allegations.

The government enhanced their "infocon" level- an alert for cyber terror says the Korea Times. "We do not rule out the possibility of North Korea being involved, but it's premature to say so," Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Wartime Manipulation Of Energy Prices Could Doom Its Economy

A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market.

Photograph of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas, floating on a body of water.

Russia, Murmansk Region - July 21, 2023: A view of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya

In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.

“We’ll have to stop the harvest! It will be a total catastrophe!” agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev had warned at the time. “We should temporarily halt the export of petroleum products now until we have stabilized the situation on the domestic market.”

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

As the crisis deepens, experts are highlighting the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.

The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signalling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.

The specter of the 2018 fuel crisis, where gasoline prices in Russia surged at twice the rate of other commodities, haunts the authorities. As a result, they implemented a mechanism to control these prices and ensure a steady supply. Known as the "fuel damper," this mechanism seeks to balance the profitability of selling fuel in both domestic and foreign markets.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest