Almost thirty governmental and private South Korean websites were hit this weekend in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks launched with the help of a small botnet.The Presidential, Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry websites were targeted, along with those of many financial institutions, but the impact was very limited.
According to the Fox News, Lee Sang-kug, a representative for the Korean Communications Commission, said the attacks were "so weak that no actual damage was detected so far."
The official suggested this was because the government is well protected, but the fact that unwanted traffic originated from only 30 computers is likely to have played a much bigger role.
Nevertheless, the South Korean government did reveal last year that KrCERT/CC built virtual DDoS shelters to protect its networks.
The measures came after in July 2009 many governmental and financial websites were crippled by a DDoS attack that authorities attributed to North Korea.
This is not necessarily true, as their communist cousins are commonly accused of launching cyber attacks against the country without conclusive evidence.
Even though these attacks had little impact and were relatively small in scope, the South Korean National Police Agency launched an investigation into the matter.
So far it was determined that the source computers are spread across 18 foreign countries. "We may find more servers behind this attack as it is only the beginning of the investigation," said Jung Suk-hwa, who heads the agency's Cyber Terror Response Center.
"Generally, there is someone else who controls all of these servers and we are working to figure out who it is," he added.
As it is generally the case with DDoS attacks, it can be very hard to pinpoint the real location of the attackers or even their motives, if not clearly expressed by them.