Hackers Target South Korea’s Military Secrets

August 25, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. malware [MAL-wair] (n.) – a computer program intended to cause damage to computers or to take control of its functions
Example: Rachel’s computer suddenly stopped working after it was infected by a malware.

2. catalogue [KAT-l-awg, -og] (v.) – to make an organized list or record
Example: The librarian used the computer to catalogue all the books in the reading room.

3. wipe [wahyp] (v.) – to completely remove or erase (especially the recorded data on a computer, tape or disk)
Example: Joey lost all his files after he wiped his computer’s hard drive.

4. downplay [DOUN-pley] (v.) – to make something seem less important or less serious
Example: To avoid complaints from customers, the CEO downplayed the system damage done by hackers.

5. classified [KLAS-uh-fahyd] (adj.) – secret; known by only a few people from the government or organization
Example: Computer experts put strong security measures to protect classified documents.


Read the text below.
In a report by McAfee [MAK-uh-fee], a security software company, experts said they discovered a malware that scans computer systems in South Korea for military-related keywords.

McAfee said that the malware code appeared to have been spread through phishing, in which e-mails and other messages that appear to be official communication trick users into divulging their account passwords and other sensitive information.

Once it has infected a system, the malware searches for files that contain a variety of Korean- and English-language words, such as "tactics," "brigade," and "logistics." It also searches for "Operation Key Resolve," an annual joint military exercise of South Korea and the US.

The malware then catalogues the documents and uploads the directories to the servers of the hackers. The hackers could then choose which specific files to download. In that way, hackers can keep network traffic low and avoid detection.

Kim Min-Seok, a spokesperson for the South Korean government, has downplayed the threat. He said that classified military documents are safe because the computer networks in which they are stored are not connected to the Internet.

However, Ryan Sherstobitoff, one of the report's authors, said that breaching private networks is possible with a high level of skill and planning.

McAfee also believes that the group that created the spying malware is very experienced.  In addition, the company is confident that the malware was made by the same group that attacked and wiped the computer data of several banks and TV networks in South Korea earlier this year.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think hackers pose a serious threat to national security? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the motives of hackers attacking national computer systems? Please explain your answer/s.

Discussion B

·         Do you think hackers can also contribute to new technological development? In what way?
·         How can we keep ourselves safe from malware and hacker attacks? Please explain your answer.


August 25, 2013