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Defense chief calls Internet rumors on Cheonan 'cyber terrorism'

All Headlines 14:34 June 08, 2010

By Kim Deok-hyun

SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said the government needs to deal swiftly against those who spread Internet rumors questioning the results of an international probe blaming Pyongyang for torpedoing a South Korean warship, calling their acts "cyber terrorism."

"There are continued attempts of cyber terrorism in our society which distort the truth and slander the government and military," Kim told a military conference on cyber security.

A multinational probe concluded last month that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo and split the patrol ship Cheonan in two on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

Some young Internet users and left-leaning online media raised doubts at the probe results, however, dismissing them as fabrication and offering conspiracy theories. The police and the prosecution said they will track down the origin of cyber rumors.

Kim said the government should tackle the "real threat" of such Internet rumor mongering on the Cheonan incident.

"We must build a system and train professionals to counter cyber terrorism," Kim said.

Maj. Gen. Bae Deuk-shik, chief of the Defense Security Command, said at the same forum that chances are getting higher than North Korea will wage a cyber attack against South Korea to disrupt the South's hosting of the Group of 20 summit in November.

North Korea is nurturing a cyber unit as one of its national strategies, he said.

"Following the surprise attack on the Cheonan, the possibility is higher than any other time for the North to launch a large-scale cyber warfare to obstruct the G20 summit," Bae said.


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