The websites of the National Election Commission and the pan-opposition candidate for Seoul mayoral by-election, Park Won-soon, were paralyzed by cyber attacks on Wednesday morning as voters went to the polls. The onslaught was a so-called distributed denial-of-service attack whereby hackers effectively overload certain websites by activating masses of zombie computers that have been infected with a virus.
“A DDoS attack interrupted access to the commission’s website from 6:15 a.m. to 8:32 a.m.,” an official with the election watchdog said. “We took an emergency measure with a DDoS defense system, but to no avail. So we diverted web traffic to a cybershelter provided by KT.”
A follow-up attack then intermittently slowed access to the commission’s website, the official added. “We’ve since been investigating who masterminded the attacks, while getting ready to defend ourselves against further attacks in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Center and the National Police Agency,” he said.
Park’s website was also attacked by a DDoS from 1:47 a.m. to 1:59 a.m. and from 5:50 a.m. to 6:52 a.m., according to the agency’s Cyberterror Response Center.
“We’ve detected Internet Protocol addresses used in the attacks and have since been trying to analyze them,” an official with the response center said. “We don’t know whether the websites of the Commission and Park were attacked by the same perpetrator.”