Korea is facing a spiraling backlash for failing to nail down the culprit behind the latest cyber attacks on key government and corporate websites.
Security experts are now warning of a possible fourth wave of attacks on the weekend.
The government, which reportedly was alerted to the on-line attacks as early as July 4, was criticized for its delayed response.
"It took over eight hours to respond to the attacks on Tuesday, which seemed to be a prolonged response, especially considering the signs were there days before," said Rep. Park Young-sun of the DP.
Lawmakers have been continuously briefed on the attacks.
The National Intelligence Service told them yesterday that a North Korean cyber warfare unit appears to be responsible for spreading the distributed denial of service virus.
The spy agency has yet to offer concrete evidence to prove the link between the attacks and North Korea since Pyongyang was not on the list of nations from where the cyber assault may have been launched.
In a briefing to members of the parliamentary Intelligence Committee, the agency said the latest attacks were traced to 86 internet protocol addresses in a total of 16 countries including South Korea, the United States, Japan and China, among others.
But the agency said "this does not necessarily rule out North Korea," according to lawmakers who attended the briefing. It also claimed that the North was clandestinely operating hacking missions in China and Eastern Europe.
The DDoS attack hit the United States on July 4, shutting sites including the White House. Washintgon has so far failed to confirm the origin of the cyber assault.
The government has held series of emergency meetings since Tuesday's attack that left over 25 websites infected at both home and abroad.
This particular type of virus shuts down websites by creating an excess in online traffic, jamming a website.
Corporate websites were the hardest hit, as sites such as Auction generate profit from on-line buyers.
The government yesterday said it had requested a 20 billion won ($15.6 million) to cover the costs for countering the recent cyber attacks and establishing preventive measures.
The military said it would push to formulate a cyber command by January next year, up from the initial target of 2012.
On-line security firms are warning of a fourth possible assault over the weekend, advising users to take preventive measures. '
The attacks seemed as of yesterday to dwindle due to active countermeasures including the demolition of the "zombie" computers used by hackers without the owners' knowledge to spread the virus.
--The Korea Herald/Asia News Network