VANK Web Site Attacked by Japanese Net Users

By Michael Ha
Staff Reporter

A non-profit group that has been a vocal advocate of Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo islets said its Web site has become the target of cyber attacks from Japan. The Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK) said Tuesday that its computer servers were temporarily shut down Sunday night when some Japanese Web users started a coordinated cyber-attack against the group’s homepage. The group is a non-governmental Korean organization made up of some 16,000 volunteers.

VANK Chairman Park Gi-tae said, “at the moment, in order to avoid further server shutdowns, only domestic Internet users can log on to our site. Our Web site was closed down for a while Sunday night because of the cyber-attack incident.” Park said, “If Japanese Internet users continue their attacks, our foreign-language sites could be rendered useless. We are asking the government to intervene and assist us so that this problem can be quickly resolved.” A Japanese Web site called “2ch,” Japan’s largest online community espousing nationalist views, is apparently helping some of its members target VANK online. It has posted online instructions that could be used to hack into VANK’s homepage. They teach how to coordinate cyber-attacks and shut down the Korean group’s computer servers.

VANK said that as a protective measure, it will continue to block access from overseas Internet addresses for the time being. The group said it could take a considerable amount of time before its main Web site to be back up and running for overseas users. Formed in 1998, VANK currently has 5,000 foreign members. Its members, who often describe themselves as “cyber diplomats,” say one of their main goals is to help correct what they see as misrepresentations of Korea and Korean history.

In 2005, the group successfully convinced online search site Google to adopt the name “East Sea” instead of “Sea of Japan” for its online map service Google Earth. Following the U.S.-based search site’s decision, some Japanese Web users hacked into VANK’s Web site in response and caused damage to its data system. This latest hacking by Japanese Internet users, however, may have been caused by a misunderstanding. VANK Chairman Park said that when Japanese figure skater Mao Asada beat Korean skating star Kim Yu-na at the Grand Prix Final last Saturday, some Korean Internet users hacked into a Japanese Web site. Some Japanese Internet users apparently thought VANK members were behind the cyber incident and decided to attack VANK’s Web site in retaliation.

[The Korea Times] | Original News @ HERE
Date : 2008/12/16


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