Just days after launching a DDoS attack and data leak on the North Korean news website Uriminzokkiri.com, Anonymous are at it again, hacking the communist state’s official Twitter and Flickr accounts, whilst defacing two of its websites in a bid to disrupt its online presence.
Previously, we saw hackers purporting to belong to Anonymous swipe some 15,000 passwords from Uriminzokkiri, apparently in response to DPRK’s recent rhetoric about launching a nuclear attack on South Korea and the US. We can’t be sure how true these claims are since the hackers only ever posted the details of six hacked accounts online, but no one can deny the group’s latest efforts.
The following screenshot was taken from Uriminzokkiri’s Twitter account earlier this morning, displaying a number of tweets from the hackers:
The hackers also did a fabulous job of hacking into North Korea’s Flickr profile, uploading a number of images to prove the feat, including the endearing half-human, half-swine depiction of leader Kim Jong-Un (pictured above). In addition, two DPRK-linked websites, including the site of political sympathizers Aindf.com, and books and music store Ryomyong.com, were defaced with equally unflattering images.
It’s believed that Uriminzokkiri.com has also been hacked too, although the site is currently offline so this cannot be confirmed.
Anonymous also posted a note onto Pastebin claiming responsibility for the deeds, saying that it’s efforts are being assisted by North Korean members, although this claim cannot be verified:
“We have a few guys on the ground who managed to bring the real internet into the country using a chain of long distance WiFi repeaters with proprietary frequencies, so they’re not jammed (yet). We also have access to some N.K. phone landlines which are connected to Kwangmyong through dial-ups. Last missing peace of puzzle was to interconnect the two networks, which those guys finally managed to do.”
The hackers have also promised to upload porn and kitten images to the hacked sites as further proof of their claims, though they claim they have been unable to do so thus far due to “slow and unstable connections”, and the efforts of North Korean officials.
Assuming that the hackers really are a part of Anonymous, then this operation is part of the collective’s greater #OpFreeKorea campaign, which is promising to dish out even more damage to the Korean’s online presence on April 19.
However, it’s not really clear what Anonymous is hoping to achieve by all of this. Essentially, North Korea maintains little more than a token presence on the web, and the vast majority of its citizens have no access to any of the affected sites. In reality, the collective’s efforts are nothing more than a symbolic show of support for the repressed people inside North Korea.
The hackers could arguably do a lot more damage if they managed to break into the regime’s so-called Intranet, which is used by ‘some’ Koreans at least. Indeed, Anonymous previously promised to do just that, though no evidence has emerged that it has done so. The prospect is actually highly unlikely because, as Caitlin Dewey in the Washington Post points out, the North Korean Intranet isn’t actually connected to the web.
If anything, Anonymous’ efforts could actually backfire on them – It’s pretty clear to anyone watching that North Korea isn’t exactly in the mood for fun and games right now, and who knows what kind of provocation might tip it over the edge?