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S. Korea Government, Media Sites Hacked Closed for Review

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- Hackers attacked the websites of South Korean President Park Geun Hye and Prime Minister Chung Hong Won on the 63rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, the government said.

Eleven media outlets were hacked and 131 South Korean servers were shut by the attacks, Park Jae Moon, director-general of Science Ministry’s IT Strategy Bureau, said during a briefing today. South Korea raised the national cyber-attack alert level to 3 from 5 after Park Geun Hye and Chung’s homepages were “tampered with,” according to the agency. A level 3 alert is for recurring damage and for when sites are down for several hours.

North Korea is suspected of hacking the sites, Yonhap News reported, without citing anyone.

“We can’t identify at this stage who did the hacking,” the Science Ministry’s Park said. “We can make comments after the result of an investigation comes out.”

In March, South Korea experienced the biggest cyber-attack in two years against its banks and TV stations, saying more than 30,000 servers were damaged. The Science Ministry said in April it found evidence North Korea was behind the attack, a claim the North Korean government denied.

The president’s website started malfunctioning at about 9:30 a.m., Lee Mi Yon, a presidential spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. The website was restored by 5:44 p.m.

Chung’s website malfunctioned for two minutes until the government shut the server down for review at 9:29 a.m., Min Seon Yeo, a spokeswoman for the National Computing and Information Agency, said by phone. The website was still shut at 7:15 p.m. local time.

Ten South Korean government organizations, including the Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service, are investigating the hacking incidents, according to the Science Ministry’s statement. The agency didn’t details the extent of the damage.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sangwon Yoon in Seoul at syoon32@bloomberg.net; Shinhye Kang in Seoul at skang24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brian Fowler at bfowler4@bloomberg.net

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