Hackers claiming links with Anonymous have hit a number of websites connected with North Korea in what it claims is a response to recent aggressive behaviour by the secretive state towards South Korea and the United States.
The group, calling itself Anonymous Korea, said it had hacked into Uriminzokkiri.com, a North Korean news and information site hosted in China, and taken 15,000 user records. A selection of these posted online included names, email addresses, hashed passwords and dates of birth.
The claims were discovered by blog North Korean Tech, which analysed the six posted records and found that three appeared to belong to Chinese people and three to South Koreans.
The group claiming responsibility for the attack said they had hit other targets as well as Uriminzokkiri.com, including the country's mail servers, web servers and even Kwangmyong, which is essentially a government controlled intranet, which citizens of the country use instead of the wider internet.
These claims have yet to be verified, and as the North Korea Tech blog points out, the domestic intranet is completely separate from the wider internet for security reasons, making a hack very difficult to do.
“North Korean government is increasingly becoming a threat to peace and freedom,” the Anonymous Korea statement read. “Don't misunderstand us: As well we disagree with the USA government too - these guys are crooks. USA is a threat to world peace too, and direct democracy (or any kind of democracy) doesn't exist there. The American government is a target and enemy of Anonymous as well!”
The statement went on to say the protest was against “oppressing and violent regimes”.
The group made a number of extreme demands, including the resignation of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, free uncensored internet access for North Korean citizens, a democratic government for the country and a demand for the government to stops its nuclear plans.
The Anonymous Korea Twitter account also claimed that it had recently taken a number of North Korean government websites offline via DDoS attacks. Of the five the group had claimed to have hit, three were still down at the time of writing.
However another hacker has come forward claiming to be behind the DDoS attacks. Going by the Twitter name of @th3j35t3r, the hacker said the attacks had been his work and that Anonymous was “hijacking” the news.
The Anonymous attack comes just a week after a huge cyber attack was launched against South Korea, which knocked thousands of computers at banks and media organisations offline. Although North Korea was heavily suspected of being behind the attack, the guilty party has not yet been identified.