Broadcasters struggle against online attack

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 20, 2013 - 20:33
  • Updated : Mar 20, 2013 - 20:33
Three major broadcasters struggled Wednesday against a suspected cyber attack on their network servers.

According to state-run broadcasting stations KBS and MBC and 24-hour cable news channel YTN, the computer networks went down around 2:20 p.m.

“We were asked to turn off our PCs. We tried to reboot but were unsuccessful,” said a KBS spokeswoman. 
A handwritten note informing of the computer system failure is stuck on a computer monitor in a KBS office in Seoul. (Yonhap News)

“Even our notebook computers would not work. It is evident that the server is broken. The system has not been recovered (as of 5:45 p.m.) and our IT team has said it will take considerable time,” an MBC PR officer said.

“About 500 computers in the administrative departments were affected. We are still figuring out the reason,” a YTN PR staff said. The editing system also went offline, causing havoc in the newsroom, he added. The exact level of the damage caused by the network paralysis is still unknown.

All three broadcasters reportedly use LG UPlus for their network services and the police and the National Intelligence Service and others are investigating whether the this was related to the shut down.

The network paralysis has apparently has had little impact on the airing of programs. “Newsroom staff are writing their cue sheets without using computers, but programs will air according to schedule,” KBS said. “We use different servers for broadcasting and production,” said YTN.

“There have been complaints about radio program production. Since the internet server broke down, the online bulletin was shut down and DJs are just playing music stored on a separate database,” KBS stated, adding that the radio crew have started securing music CDs in case the database breaks down, too.

This is the first time news broadcasters have been the target of a simultaneous large-scale online attack.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)