A hacking collective known as the 'New World Hackers' has targeted a slew of websites affiliated with North Korea in protest of the nation's recent satellite launch, it has been revealed.
The impacted websites include the North Korea-owned airline, Air Koryo, and the country's state news agency, the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK (KCNA). A number of the targeted websites remained offline at the time of writing.
A member of the group exclusively told Newsweek the main motive for the attacks was to "stop communications between the satellite and the websites".
"If you attack a site linked to a satellite that constantly updates off of that site, you're really disrupting something somewhere. We at least slowed down their progress," said the unnamed hacker.
According to Newsweek, the hackers – who are said to be involved with the Anonymous hacking group – claimed up to 200 websites were targeted by denial of service (DoS) attacks, which use a flood of unexpected traffic in order to take a website offline. It has not yet been verified if communications with the satellite were directly severed by the hacking campaign.
On the New World Hackers Twitter page, the group posted a number of screenshots showing the targeted websites each showing no network service. Alongside each post, the hackers wrote: #TangoDown.
The hacking follows the launch of a long-range rocket on 7 February, which North Korean officials maintained was part of its 'peaceful space programme'. However, some critics, including the US government, said it may have been cover for a ballistic missile test. Most recently, the South Korean government revealed the satellite successfully achieved orbit.
In response, the White House said the US government is now considering sending a 'sophisticated anti-missile system' to South Korea to help fend off any potential threat of attack from the North.