Hackers associated with the group Anonymous have successfully taken over Twitter and Flickr accounts controlled by the North Korean government, posting content that mocks Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. The attack comes amid heightened tensions, as North Korea threatens South Korea and the U.S. with a possible nuclear attack.
Mashable's Alex Fitzpatrick reported, "Hackers claiming affiliation with Anonymous took credit Thursday for defacing official North Korea-run Twitter and Flickr pages. The pages, which normally post pro-government propaganda aimed at outsiders, are now posting messages and pictures promoting Anonymous and insulting North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Credit for the hacks was first claimed by a Twitter account calling itself 'Anonymous Korea.' The account was created in December of 2012 and has said the group supports the liberation of North Koreans from the rule of Jong-un, who it has labeled a 'war criminal.'"
Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin explained, "The Twitter and Flickr accounts represent Uriminzokkiri (meaning 'Our Nation'), a North Korean news and propaganda site. When Uriminzokkiri established a Twitter account in 2010, the IDG News Service described the news site as 'the closest thing North Korea has to an official home page' and 'one of the few Web sites believed to be run from the secretive nation.' The Twitter page, with 14,000 followers, switched from posting in North Korean to English this morning. The profile picture was changed to an illustration of two dancers wearing Guy Fawkes masks. The hackers of the Flickr account are posting various pro-Anonymous and anti-North Korea pictures. One depicts Kim Jong-un with pig ears and a Mickey Mouse picture on his chest and says he is 'threatening world peace with ICBMs and Nuclear weapons.'"
The BBC quoted one of the messages posted by the attackers, which said, "To the citizens of North Korea we suggest to rise up and bring [this] oppressive government down! We are holding your back and your hand, while you take the journey to freedom, democracy and peace. You are not alone. Don't fear us, we are not terrorist, we are the good guys from the internet. AnonKorea and all the other Anons are here to set you free."
The Next Web's Jon Russell noted, "Last week, hackers that purported to be part of the ‘hacktivist’ collective claimed to have swiped 15,000 passwords from North Korea’s Uriminzokkiri.com news and information site in response to the North Korean regime and its nuclear weapons program. While that feat remains unclear since the hackers posted details of just six of the accounts that they claimed to have gotten, there is no doubt about the latest efforts."