North Korea Launches First Ever Cyber Attack Against US and South Korean Websites

North Korea is suspected of launching a cyber attack that paralysed the websites of South Korean and United States government agencies, banks and businesses, the first such large-scale attack attempted by the isolated communist state.

The attack came as Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, made a rare appearance at a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the death of his father, the founding president, Kim Il Sung.

The younger Mr Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke last August and dropped from view completely for several months.

South Korea’s intelligence agency has reportedly told members of parliament that it believes North Korea is behind the attack, which hit 25 websites on Tuesday evening, shutting some of them down for up to four hours.

South Korea has issued security warnings after the disruption of major Internet sites by an apparent cyber attack. Several U.S. Web sites have also been affected. Reports are emerging in South Korean media that intelligence officials suspect North Korea may have had a hand in the disruption.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted parliamentary intelligence committee lawmakers as saying North Korea may be behind the apparent cyber attack.