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Virus IPs identified, intercepted by S. Korea

SEOUL said yesterday it had identified and blocked five IP addresses used to distribute viruses that caused Website outages in the United States and South Korea.

American and South Korean officials have said they believe North Korea was behind the attacks, but none of the blocked Internet Protocol addresses -- the Web equivalent of a street address or phone number -- were for computers in North Korea.

The addresses point to the computers that distributed the virus that triggered so-called denial-of-service attacks in which floods of computers try to connect to a single site at the same time, overwhelming the server.

They were in Austria, Georgia, Germany, South Korea and the US, an official from the state-run Korea Communications Commission said. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

US officials said some IP addresses had been traced to North Korea.

And South Korean officials have said the attacks could have been carried out by sympathizers outside of North Korea. IP addresses can be faked or masked, hiding their location.

The commission official said South Korea also blocked another 86 IP addresses in 16 countries that were used to spread different viruses that damaged hard disks or files in computers they contaminated.

The official said the new viruses were linked to the attacks that caused many Websites, including those of the White House, Pentagon, Nasdaq stock exchange and South Korea's presidential Blue House, to crash or be disrupted.

South Korean media reported in May that North Korea was running a cyber warfare unit that tried to hack into US and South Korean military networks to gather confidential data and disrupt service.

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported yesterday that North Korea had between 500 and 1,000 hacking specialists.


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