Cyber Attacks on ROK & US

Mils Hills

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Between 4–9 July 2009, a series of coordinated cyber attacks took place, affecting 27 government and commercial websites in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States (US). The attacks were relatively unsophisticated and, at their worst, reduced functionality or rendered the website temporarily unavailable.1 Tweaked versions of extant malware were used by the attackers to execute Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to flood certain websites in the ROK and the US with data traffic and make them unavailable. This outcome was achieved by hijacking unsecure unpatched computers
worldwide. The attack was directed at the websites of political, administrative, media and commercial organisations in the ROK and at political, entertainment and media websites in the US. The low impact and ready countering of the 2009 cyber attack meant that functionality was not compromised and the impact was more abstract: the attacks attracted a large amount of media attention and forced the ROK and US to react. The ROK quickly attributed the attacks to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), 2 which has been developing Offensive Cyber Capabilities (OCC) since the 1990s as a way to overcome asymmetries in conventional warfare capabilities between the DPRK and its adversaries. The use of OCC is particularly advantageous for the
DPRK as it is relatively cheap and easy to develop and because it enables the DPRK to conduct low-level attacks against its highly networked adversaries with relative anonymity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHybrid Threats
Subtitle of host publicationA Strategic Communications Perspective
Place of PublicationLatvia
PublisherNATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)978-9934-564-33-8
ISBN (Print)978-9934-564-33-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • cyber


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