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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

Forty South Korean websites were hit by targeted distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks today (March 4), including the presidential Blue House, the Foreign Ministry and the country’s two largest search engines.

Among the websites targeted were the Ministry of Unification, the Financial Services Commission, the National Assembly, Kookmin Bank and Auction.com (an online auction site owned by eBay), the New York Times reported.

South Korean security company AhnLab discovered the cyberattacks, and said they share similarities with DDoS attacks launched by North Korea in July 2009.

After that incident, during which 12,000 South Korean sites were hit, several government agencies, including the presidential Blue House, installed countersecurity measures. As a result, the Blue House servers suffered “no major damage at all” yesterday, a government official said.

The National Police Agency is investigating the attacks. No formal claims have been made against North Korea for the incident.

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