Hacktivist collective Anonymous and - unusually - some of its enemies have all turned their ire against government websites, propaganda outlets and social media profiles linked to the North Korean regime.
DDoS attacks were launched on Nork government websites and Air Koryo, the country's airline, after North Korea threatened to restart a mothballed nuclear reactor as part of an escalation in tensions that last week led to North Korea issuing a statement of war against South Korea. Notorious US patriot hacker "th3j35t3r" ("the Jester") claimed responsibility for the attack against Air Koryo and other sites (here and here), so it's not just elements of Anonymous that are involved in the attacks but also one of its principal antagonists in cyberspace.
The Twitter account associated with North Korean propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri was also hit, seemingly by Anonymous as part of Operation Free Korea (OpFreeKorea). Urminzokkiri's Flickr photo page was hijacked to feature a "wanted" poster mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the BBC reports.
The hacktivist collective also claimed to have lifted 15,000 usernames and passwords of Uriminzokkiri.com users. The site, hosted in China, is North Korea's main propaganda portal, and a not infrequent target of previous attacks, The Next Web reports.
Ordinary North Koreans have no access to the wider internet but are allowed access to government websites and other tightly controlled content via a local intranet system called Kwangmyong. Computer ownership in the country is low and a mobile internet service for foreigners visiting the hermit kingdom was recently suspended.
Anonymous is calling for North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un to resign, democratic elections, and uncensored internet access. ®
The Jester and Anonymous are arch-enemies over issues such as WikiLeaks but have very occasionally found common ground in the past as with attacks against the Westboro Baptist Church.
"Next we'll be hearing how Anonymous operators are hiding under Kim's desk & unplugging his ethernet cable too?" th3j35t3r commented sarcastically about the latest attacks, linking to a possibly photo-shopped image.