Anonymous Korea shrouded in mystery

Suspicions are rising over the identity of Anonymous Korea as it shows different action patterns from those of the international “hacktivist”group.

Anonymous Korea last week disclosed the names, e-mail addresses and dates of birth of more than 15,000 alleged members, including South Koreans, of the North Korean Uriminzokkiri propaganda website via two separate releases.

The supposed Korean unit said it collected the information by hacking the website in cooperation with its international members, through its Twitter account.

However, experts say the Korean group’s outspoken claim of hacking is different from Anonymous, which opted to stay silent after its actions against the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in 2009 and the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2012.

Lim Dong-bin, a senior official of Cuvepia, a local computer software company, said it is hard to figure out the relationship between Anonymous Korea and the international group because there is little information on either of the organizations.

“It is impossible to know about them. I have heard a rumor that Anonymous is a group of hackers, but no further information is available. In terms of Anonymous Korea, it is the first time I’ve ever heard about it. People are just guessing about them,” said Lim, a veteran software programmer.

Anonymous is a loose association of hackers around the world whose identities have never been made public. Lim said the hacking of North Korean websites does not necessarily mean Anonymous Korea is equipped with high-level hacking techniques.

“North Korean websites, such as Uriminzokkiri and Air Koryo, are open networks which people can access freely. It isn’t difficult to hack such websites.”

He said if the group can hack the Stalinist country’s closed state-run Gwangmyeong network as it vowed to do, it may prove the group has extraordinary technical capabilities.

Uriminzokkiri is the North Korean propaganda website which is operated by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, the North’s arm for dealing with cross-border affairs with South Korea. Air Koryo is a state-run airliner of North Korea.

Uriminzokkiri said the South Korean intelligence agency is behind Anonymous Korea and the hacking was manipulated by it, saying the group raised an issue of pro-North Korean ideology and vowed to attack the website again on June 25, the anniversary of the day the Korean War broke out in 1950.

It said the fact the group uses both Korean and English is evidence the South Korean government is leading the group.