Computer networks crash at South Korean banks, media companies; North Korea attack suspected

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 20 at 9:04 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Some computer systems in South Korean remain down after a cyberattack caused networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters to crash simultaneously today.

Police and South Korean officials couldn't immediately determine responsibility, but some experts are pointing to North Korea. While North Korea's state media made no immediate comments on the shutdown, the rivals have been exchanging threats amid joint U.S.-South Korean military drills and in the wake of U.N. sanctions meant to punish North Korea over its nuclear test last month.

The cyberattack caused screens to go blank at 2 p.m. local time and more than seven hours later some systems were still down. It paralyzed bank machines across the country and froze part of the country's commerce, with customers unable to use the debit and credit cards that many rely on more than cash.

However, the disruption did not affect government agencies or potential targets such as power plants or transportation systems.

The network paralysis follows North Korean accusations that South Korea and the U.S. were behind a cyberattack that shut down its websites for two days last week.

%@AP Links

025-c-06-(Jean Lee, Korea bureau chief)-"mode in Seoul"-AP's Korea Bureau Chief Jean Lee reports police and government agencies are investigating what may be a cyberattack in South Korea. (20 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *025 (03/20/13)>> 00:06 "mode in Seoul"

026-c-14-(Jean Lee, Korea bureau chief)-"a similar situation"-AP's Korea Bureau Chief Jean Lee reports the computer outages have paralyzed several companies. (20 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *026 (03/20/13)>> 00:14 "a similar situation"

027-c-09-(Jean Lee, Korea bureau chief)-"be a cyberattack"-AP's Korea Bureau Chief Jean Lee reports these computer shutdowns come just days after North Korea blamed South Korea and the United States for cyberattacks that temporarily shut down websites in Pyongyang. (20 Mar 2013)

<<CUT *027 (03/20/13)>> 00:09 "be a cyberattack"

APPHOTO LJM106: Two bank clerks, left, check an automated teller machine at a branch of Shinhan Bank after the bank's computer networks are fixed in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Computers networks at two major South Korean banks and three top TV broadcasters went into shutdown mode en masse Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of a cyberattack by North Korea. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) (20 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO LJM106 (03/20/13)>>

APPHOTO SEL106: Depositors try to use automated teller machines of Shinhan Bank while the bank's computer networks are paralyzed at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Computer networks at two major South Korean banks and three top TV broadcasters went into shutdown mode en masse Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of a cyberattack by North Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) (20 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO SEL106 (03/20/13)>>

APPHOTO XAHN809: Employees react at the newsroom of the all-news cable channel YTN as the broadcaster's computer network was paralyzed in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters crashed en masse Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of a cyberattack by North Korea. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT (20 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAHN809 (03/20/13)>>

APPHOTO XAHN808: An employee works near a computer screen with error message at the newsroom of the all-news cable channel YTN as the broadcaster's computer network was paralyzed in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, March 20, 2013. Computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters crashed en masse Wednesday, paralyzing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of a cyberattack by North Korea. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT (20 Mar 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAHN808 (03/20/13)>>

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