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N. Korea's cyber attacks become bolder, smarter: military spy chief

All Headlines 14:39 June 14, 2011

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has been waging cyber attacks against South Korea's government and corporate computer networks with bolder and smarter methods, the chief of the South's military intelligence command warned Tuesday.

"North Korea is strategically nurturing its cyber warfare unit," Lt. Gen. Bae Deuk-shin, chief of the Defense Security Command, told a computer security forum hosted by the command.

"This unit has shown the potential for attacks that are larger in scale and more intelligent by pinpointing a specific target," Bae said.

Bae confirmed that North Korea was behind a cyber attack that disrupted operations at one of South Korea's largest banks in April this year as well as two others on major government and corporate Web sites since 2009.

"In the future, North Korea will try to cause social confusion and incur significant national damage through an intensive cyber attack," Bae said.

South Korean intelligence officials believe that North Korea runs a 1,000-strong cyber warfare unit under the direct control of its top intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

In April, Seoul blamed Pyongyang for crippling the computer system of one of its major financial institutions, the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, or Nonghyup. The incident paralyzed the bank's ATM and credit card services for more than a week, but the North denied the accusation.

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