The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has created a frightening air of uncertainty – both inside the enigmatic Asian nation and throughout international diplomatic circles. However, the information security community seems certain that a wave of cybercriminal activities will soon follow the polarizing event.
This news has placed South Korea in an especially precarious position. The two countries have remained at odds for more than five decades, and the death of North Korea's "dear leader" could be viewed as a significant blow to the country's credibility. South Korean soldiers remain on high alert on the border of the demilitarized zone, however, anticipating a show of power from Kim Jong Il's son and heir apparent Kim Il Sung.
"For the sake of the future of the Republic of Korea, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is more important than anything else. It should not be threatened by what has happened," South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told reporters, attempting to diffuse tension.
This calming note was not heard in the sentiments expressed by the Korea Communications Commission, however. According to eWeek, the KCC has raised its cyber-alert level and stepped up network monitoring efforts for government agencies, media companies and Internet service providers.
North Korea has long been implicated in a series of attacks on South Korean infrastructure and even U.S. military websites, according to eWeek. Although the hackers often used rudimentary tools and strategies, some experts suggested that the tactics could be a trial for more advanced cyberweapons.
Interestingly enough, the news may also affect the international Internet security community on a more personal level. According to eWeek, the KCC has also advised citizens around the world to be on the lookout for any links or messages that may be trying to exploit the publicity surrounding Kim Jong Il's passing.
Similar attacks were seen following the death of Steve Jobs and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. With concerned citizens scouring the web for details regarding these incidents, hackers likely compromised millions of accounts by leading readers toward fraudulent promotions and malware-infested links.
It remains to be seen how the vacuum of power will ultimately be filled in North Korea, and what the resulting implications will be for South Korea and nations around the world. In the meantime, network administrators and common consumers should be aware of prevalent cybercriminal strategies and particularly vigilant in vetting online content.
Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro