Cyber-buggers are again targeting Koreanists

16 05 2011

Aidan Foster-Carter Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University in the UK, received the email copied below. Has anyone else received this, or similar? If so, beware. It is almost certainly a virus.

A.F-C: “I have disabled the title section (here in capitals) As sent, this was a hyperlink in the usual blue. It would have been so easy to click on it!

Luckily I didn’t. Instead I hovered the cursor over it, revealing that the link ended in .hta – which is executable code, ie something nasty.

So here we go again. You may recall that I warned of a similar sly ambush attempt in August 2009. See
http://koreaweb.ws/pipermail/koreanstudies_koreaweb.ws/2009-August/007362.html

I know of, and am copying this to, others who have been thus attacked before. The common factor seems to be simply taking an interest in North Korea.

Importantly, those targeted are not only critics of the DPRK but also such blameless souls as CanKor:
see http://vtncankor.wordpress.com/cankor-history/

As you may know, South Korea recently experienced two serious cyber-attacks: in March and again in April. The former was general, but caused little harm since it met defences strengthened since a similar DDoS attack last year. The latter was specific (Nonghyup), and did serious damage.

The ROK government has officially blamed the DPRK for both attacks. Pyongyang sneeringly denies Nonghyup; see
http://www.kcna.co.jp/item/2011/201105/news10/20110510-22ee.html
and some in Seoul are sceptical too. I haven’t seen the North comment officially on the March episode.

Whoever may be responsible for any or all of this, as Curtis Melvin of NKeconwatch aptly put it, a year ago:
http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2010/03/19/someone-is-not-playing-nice/
He has also just posted a warning of this new threat:
http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2011/05/12/more-virus-attacks/

In short: Be careful what you click on.

Aidan Foster-Carter
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds University, UK

Forwarded message ———-
From: David L <l_david19@yahoo.com>
To: “afostercarter@aol.com” <afostercarter@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 12 May 2011 00:58:07 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: final draft

It’s been a long time since I last corresponded with you.
How have you been? I hope everything is well with you, your family.
Finally, The final draft was complete yesterday.
It will be announced next Month after collecting more opinions from experts in the field.
The Current Situation and Future Prospects in Northeast Asia : JAPAN, NORTH KOREA, SOUTH KOREA, CHINA

http://reportinside.net/draft/fainaldraft_201105.htaXX ( XX is added at the end to prevent anyone from accidentally linking to the server).

I look forward to sharing my insights with you once I receive your assessment.
I hope to hear from you soon .

Sincerely Yours,

David in Japan

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