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North and South Korea Heading for Collision in both Real and Virtual Worlds?


September 1, 2012
101 East / Al Jazeera

It is a spectacular collision of real and virtual worlds and the consequences are potentially earth shattering. On the one side, there is South Korea -- the most wired place on earth, with an Internet that sizzles into 90 percent of all homes and a national obsession with Internet games. On the other, there is North Korea -- one of the most paranoid and dangerously unpredictable places on earth, with a million-strong army.

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2012/08/201282782010258452.html

Korea: Wired
Could North and South Korea be heading for a spectacular collision in both the real and virtual worlds?




(August 31. 2012) -- It is a spectacular collision of real and virtual worlds and the consequences are potentially earth shattering. On the one side, there is South Korea -- the most wired place on earth, with an internet that sizzles into 90 percent of all homes and a national obsession with internet games.

On the other, there is North Korea -- one of the most paranoid and dangerously unpredictable places on earth, with a million-strong army and, as this film reveals, a super-secret team of state-authorised hackers looking to bring chaos to its neighbour and beyond.

In South Korea, millions are addicted to the action unfolding on their screens -- games bristling with powerful weaponry, requiring lightning-fast trigger skills to survive and played out on virtual battle grounds.

Internet gaming is a massive phenomenon in a country with super-fast Internet, with its own superstars, big bucks and even its own top-rating television shows. But it also has its downsides.

The number of Koreans addicted to gaming is estimated to be in the millions. So-called PC Bangs in places like the capital, Seoul, are filled with gamers who do not know what time of the day or night it is -- and who play for days on end.

A number of murders and deaths have been linked to the gaming obsession, while special psychiatric units have been established to deal with the problem. But as a generation binges on Internet games, a very real enemy is watching and looking for vulnerabilities in the national grid.

Reporter Mark Willacy has tracked down key defectors with first-hand knowledge of North Korea's clandestine cyber operations. They have provided intimate details of a crack team of tech whizzes training their sights on South Korea's computer grid, planting viruses and dislocating and disabling important parts of the system -- the financial sector, transport, internet service providers and portals.

So, is it Game On?

101 East airs each week at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2230; Friday: 0930; Saturday: 0330; Sunday: 1630.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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