Home' Greymouth Star : December 23rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1601 - Irish rebels Tyrone and O’Donnell are
routed near Kinsale by British forces, clearing
the way for the British settlement of Northern
1823 - The poem, A Visit from St Nicholas,
by Clement C Moore (‘Twas the night before
Christmas . . .) published anonymously in the
Troy (New York) Sentinel.
1861 - Sydney ’s first tram route is established
Redfern to Circular Quay.
1888 - Suffering from depression, D utch
painter Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear.
1972 - Earthquake strikes Managua,
Nicaragua, killing 10,000.
1989 - US sends 2000 reinforcement troops
to Panama to combat unexpectedly stiff
resistance from Panamanian troops loyal to
ousted General Manuel Antonio Noriega.
1995 - The charred bodies of 16 members of a
doomsday cult, the Order of the Solar Temple,
are found outside Grenoble, France.
1997 - Terry Nichols is convicted of
conspiracy to bomb the Oklahoma
City federal building and involuntary
2011 - The D uke of Edinburgh,
the 90-year-old husband of Queen
Elizabeth, undergoes successful heart
surgery for a blocked coronary artery
after complaining of chest pains.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Richard Arkwright, English inventor
(1732-1792); Joseph Smith, Mormon Church
founder (1805-1844); J Arthur Rank, British
industrialist-filmmaker (1888-1972); Akihito,
emperor of Japan (1933-); Harry Shearer, US
actor-comedian (1943-); Quentin
Bryce, Governor-General of Australia
(1942-); Silvia, queen of Sweden
(1943-); Susan Lucci, US actress
(1946-); Grace Knight, British born
singer (1955-); Dave Murray, rock
musician with Iron Maiden (1956-
); Eddie Vedder, lead singer of US
group Pearl Jam (1964-); Beau
Champion, Australian rugby league player
“Christmas is the season when you buy this
year’s gifts with next year’s money.”
“ While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem,
the time came for the baby to be born, and she
gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped
Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the
inn.” — Luke 2:6-7
A family’s link with
the early days of the
West Coast ended
with the sudden
death in Lower Hutt, Wellington on Friday of
Miss Viola Kettle. Her body was found in her
home late on Saturday night. Miss Kettle was
the only sur viving member of a family closely
associated with development of Greymouth.
Her father, London-born William Robert
Kettle came to Greymouth in 1874, 90 years
ago. He joined the firm of D uncan McLean
Ltd before establishing his own grocery
business in the town eight years later. In 1891
he was elected to the borough council and two
years later was mayor.
Miss Kettle spent her early life in Greymouth
but shifted 30 years ago to Lower Hutt.
The Kawatiri airport at Westport was
struck by a confined but severe whirlwind
early yesterday morning. Five foot plate glass
windows at the top of the control tower were
smashed and the shed housing the airport fire
tender was severely damaged, but the tender
received only slight damage. Nobody was
The whirlwind hurled an empty 44-gallon
drum against a shed over 100 yards away and
then blew it into adjoining farmland. The drum
has not yet been sighted.
While 2000 people may still be wondering
just what ‘Blackguard Sandy’s rude answer to
William Revell was, they are no longer in any
doubt about how Hokitika had its beginnings.
These 2000 were those who braved the rather
doubtful weather to watch the re-enactment of
the landing by Samuel Leech on Gibson Q uay
on Sunday, exactly 100 years after the original
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
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ost North Koreans
have never seen the
But the country
suspects is behind
a devastating hack on Sony Pictures
Entertainment has managed to orchestrate
a string of crippling cyber infiltrations of
South Korean computer systems in recent
years, officials in Seoul believe, despite
North Korea protesting its innocence.
Experts say the Sony Pictures hack may
be the costliest cyber attack so far inflicted
on an American business. The fallout from
the hack that exposed a trove of sensitive
documents, and this week escalated to
threats of terrorism, forced Sony to cancel
release of the North Korean spoof movie
The Inter view. The studio’s reputation is
in tatters as embarrassing revelations spill
from tens of thousands of leaked e-mails
and other company materials.
Despite widespread poverty, malnutrition
and decades of crippling United States-
led economic sanctions, Pyongyang has
poured resources into training thousands
of hackers who regularly target bitter rival
A look at the country’s suspected
capabilities and where experts believe the
authoritarian nation is heading with its
North Korea’s cyber army
South Korea’s former spy chief and a
North Korean defector put the number
of professional hackers at between 1000
and 3000. These numbers from Seoul’s
intelligence agency in 2010 and a leaked
North Korean government document from
2009, which contained an order from late
leader Kim Jong Il, may be outdated. But
they agree that North Korea trains hackers
at top schools to launch attacks on cyber
space mostly targeted at South Korea.
Defector Kim Heung Kwang said he
trained student hackers at a university
in the industrial North Korean city
of Hamhung for two decades before
defecting in 2003. Hackers also are sent to
study abroad in China and Russia.
In 2009, then-leader Kim Jong Il ordered
Pyongyang’s “cyber command” expanded
to 3000 hackers, Kim said, citing a North
Korean government document that he
obtained that year. The veracity of the
document could not be independently
Kim, who has lived in Seoul since 2004,
believes that more have been recruited
since then, and said some are based in
China to infiltrate networks abroad.
Simon Choi, a senior security researcher
at Seoul-based anti-virus company Hauri
Inc., said North Korean hackers have
honed their skills from various attacks
in South Korea. Choi, who analyses
malicious codes from North Korea, said
the country’s skills have improved and it
is able to disguise malware as harmless
The perception of growing cyber security
threats from North Korea has prompted
South Korea’s defence ministry to beef up
its cyber warfare capabilities.
Past cyber attacks
South Korea blames North Korea for
carrying out at least six high-profile
cyber attacks since 2007 with many more
unsuccessful attempts at infiltrating
computer systems of businesses and
government agencies. In the six cases,
hackers destroyed hard drive disks,
paralysed banking systems or disrupted
access to websites. Some of these attacks
were so crippling that in one case a South
Korean bank was unable to resume on-line
banking ser vices for more than two weeks.
The first suspected cyber assault by
North Korea took place on July 7, 2009
in the form of “denial of ser vice” attacks
on dozens of websites of South Korean
and US government agencies. Hackers
triggered intense traffic from tens of
thousands of “zombie” PCs that are
crippled by malware. Initially, South
Korea’s spy agency pointed the finger at
North Korea. Some experts later said that
there were no conclusive evidence that
Pyongyang was behind it, but South Korea
came to see the attack as a prelude to a
growing cyber threat from the North.
A similar infiltration was carried out on
March 4, 2011. Hackers attacked about
40 South Korean government and private
websites, prompting officials to warn
of a substantial threat to the country’s
computers. The targets included websites
belonging to South Korea’s presidential
office, the foreign ministry, the national
intelligence ser vice, US Forces Korea and
major financial institutions.
One month later, South Korean bank
Nonghyup was the victim of a damaging
cyberattack on the country’s financial
industry. It took the bank more than two
weeks to recover and resume on-line
banking and ATM ser vices. South Korean
authorities concluded that North Korea
was responsible for the April 12, 2011
A smaller scale breach linked to North
Korea was on South Korean daily
newspaper JoongAng Ilbo on June 6, 2012.
Hackers changed the home page of its
website and destroyed data in its editorial
One of the most damaging attacks took
place in 2013. The March 20 cyber attack
struck 48,000 computers and ser vers,
hampering banks for 2-5 days. Officials
said that no bank records or personal data
were compromised but staffers at three
television broadcasters were unable to
log on to news systems for several days,
although programming continued.
Three months later on the anniversary of
the outbreak of the Korean War, dozens
of government and media companies were
hit by malicious code and denial of ser vice
What next for North Korea’s cyber war?
Experts believe that for impoverished
North Korea, expanding its warfare
into cyber space is an attractive choice
because it is cheaper and faster to develop
malicious computer codes than to build
nuclear bombs or other weapons of
mass destruction. On-line attacks can be
performed anonymously, another upside
for the infiltrators.
It is also a battle in which North Korea
has little to lose. Unlike South Korea
where commerce and many aspects of
daily life are dependent on the internet,
only a fraction of North Koreans can go
on-line. In South Korea, a crippled website
or a disruption of on-line banking poses
“ North Korea has very few internet-
connected PCs so they have little in the
way of being attacked. But South Korea
has a huge IT infrastructure that can come
under attack,” security expert Choi said.
That provides ample targets for North
Korean hackers, he said.
Choi believes the North’s hackers
are highly skilled and organised with
the capacity to “freely hack into other
computer systems without any limits.”
Experts have warned of the possibility
that North Korea could mobilise its
hackers to attack key infrastructure such as
What the world knows about North
Korea’s cyber warfare capabilities comes
mostly from intelligence agencies and
North Korean defectors who left the
country before 2007 when the first major
cyber attack linked to North Korea
occurred in South Korea.
North Korea’s nuclear capabilities have
been a point of pride for the isolated
nation, but it has never openly admitted
the existence of a State-trained cyber army.
The North has denied Seoul’s accusations
it is responsible for cyber attacks in South
Korea. In the Sony Pictures case, North
Korea said it might have been the work of
sympathisers. — AP
A glimpse of North Korea’s cyber war capacity
Mike Bush was in Bangkok when
the Boxing Day earthquake struck and
even though he was 1250km from the
epicentre, he felt it.
The force unleashed was the equivalent
of 1500 nuclear bombs of the size used
to lay waste to Hiroshima in World War
At magnitude 9.3, it was the third-
largest earthquake recorded on a
seismograph, shaking the earth for at least
Media reports revealed the impact was
far more severe.
By evening, Mr Bush — now Police
Commissioner, then a detective inspector
and New Zealand’s police liaison officer
in Thailand — had traded his Bangkok
family home and office for a disaster zone.
He barely slept in the seven days that
The Thai authorities had set up a base in
Phuket town. Mr Bush, as New Zealand’s
representative on the ground, recalls
standing, waiting in the huge, largely
empty hall that would become the central
point for those who needed help.
Dozens of others stood behind tables
bearing the flags of the country they
ser ved. He did too.
Then the doors were unlocked.
“Hundreds of distraught people came
through the doors. They’d lost their
families, their kids, their possessions. The
absolute outpourings of grief . . .”
The sheer press of those seeking help was
over whelming. And that was the next 18
hours consumed until help arrived.
Mr Bush left to tour the area, compiling
reports for those back in New Zealand
trying to measure the scale of the disaster.
Police contacts helped with transport
and other logistics as he moved over the
course of days from Phuket to the “utter
devastation” of Khao Lak, 88km to the
north, where more than 4000 people lost
“It was actually three to four days before
you really realised the impact of the
tsunami. It was when I got to Khao Lak. ”
The flat landscape had nothing to resist
the force of water rushing in from the sea.
It withdrew, leaving wreckage and the
dead in its wake.
Bodies had been gathered to lie outside
temples in the humid open air, awaiting
whatever step came next. Mr Bush
counted 300 people at one temple, 600 at
“The thing that does affect you is seeing
the victims, and the victims’ families . . .
and on your travels seeing the deceased,
the huge number of children who had
The knowledge he earned fed a need
back in New Zealand — it allowed Mr
Bush to relay estimates of a New Zealand
death toll far lower and more accurate
than that touted in the media.
“On the first day, you were expecting a
lot more,” he said.
It also armed him with details needed
locally. The Thai authorities emerged
as open to advice, and heard from Mr
Bush a recommendation to shift victim
identification from a health-led effort to
one overseen by police.
In the days following, international
police teams, including from New
Zealand, began the task of matching the
names of those missing to the bodies of
Mr Bush retreated — for a day — to
Bangkok, back from the “intensity” of a
week in which he rarely slept.
And then he returned. And returned
— back for work, back for the one-year
memorial, back this year for the 10-year
Even a year after the tsunami, hotels
had been rebuilt, gardens landscaped and
“ You wouldn’t think it had happened,”
Mr Bush says.
It might not have scarred the landscape
but, he says, “it would be hard to find a
more significant event in your life”.
The five New Zealanders killed in the
Boxing Day Tsunami were: Andrew, 42,
and Belinda, 26, Welch; Leone Cosens, 51;
Craig Baxter, 37; Stephen Bond, 46.
Memory of tsunami ruin still raw
On Boxing Day 2004, a massive earthquake in Indonesia created a tsunami so large it
caused widespread devastation around the Indian Ocean, resulting in the deaths of more
than 300,000 people. Five of them were New Zealanders. Now, 10 years on, the
New Zealand Herald revisits one of the world’s worst natural disasters. DAVID
FISHER talks to New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush about his own grim
experience, which still lingers with him today.
A village near the coast of Sumatra in ruin after the tsunami that struck South-east Asia.
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