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Cyber attacks on gov't agencies, ransomware programs to rise in 2017: report

All Headlines 14:37 December 05, 2016

SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- More cyber attacks on key government agencies and social infrastructure-related facilities, coupled with increased ransomware programs for mobile and desktop computers, are likely to take place next year, a state-run agency said Monday.

According to the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), a series of cyber attacks may occur with the aim of stirring increased political and social instability in the country. In particular, military and North Korea-related sites would be the targets of their attacks, it said.

Also, software and mobile devices will remain vulnerable to ransomware programs, it said.

Ransomware refers to a type of malicious software that bans access to the files saved on a computer, or suspends access to the computer entirely, with some even demanding payment in the Korean language.

While ransomware initially spread through files and links attached to e-mails, it now has expanded to spreading through operating systems, applications and banner advertisements.

"In particular, mobile financial services will be threatened by the malicious apps," it said.

The agency also said Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be also exposed to more ransomware programs as hackers are increasingly breaching Internet-enabled devices.

Cyber attacks on gov't agencies, ransomware programs to rise in 2017: report - 1

The report came as North Korea has ratcheted up its cyberwafare against the South.

North Korea has been long accused of waging cyberwarfare, including hacking South Korea and even U.S. companies.

In March 2013, North Korea carried out a massive cyberattack on South Korean financial firms and TV broadcasters, causing their networks to crash.

In late 2014, the U.S. accused Pyongyang of staging cyberattacks on Sony Pictures, which released "The Interview," a fictional movie about assassinating the North's current leader.


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