Wired: South Korea


During the 2012 London Olympics most of the world was glued to their TV’s, but in South Korea millions wouldn’t bother blinking for a second beyond the action unfolding on their screens.

For them, the only games going are bristling with powerful weaponry, require lightning fast trigger skills to survive and are played out on virtual battle grounds.

Internet gaming is a massive phenomenon in South Korea, with super-fast internet and it’s superstars, big bucks and even its own top rating television gaming shows.

But gaming also got plenty of downside.

The number of players addicted to gaming is estimated in the millions. The so called PC Bangs in places like the capital Seoul are filled with gamers who don’t know what time of the day or night it is and who have been playing for days on end.

A number of murders and deaths have been assigned to the gaming obsession. Even special psychiatric units have been established to deal with the addiction problem.

And while a generation binges on online-games, a very real enemy is watching and looking for vulnerabilities in the national grid.

Foreign Correspondent has tracked down key defectors with first-hand knowledge of North Korea’s clandestine cyber operations. They’ve provided intimate detail 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.

It’s a disturbing picture but it doesn’t end in the tense arm wrestle on the peninsula. North Korea has a wider horizon.

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