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(LEAD) Military secrets leaked from state-run defense agency: lawmaker

All Headlines 16:24 April 10, 2014

(ATTN: UPDATES with agency's response in last 5 paras)

SEOUL, April 10 (Yonhap) -- Large amounts of military intelligence have been leaked from a state-run defense agency after its computer networks came under attack from suspected Chinese and North Korean hackers, an opposition lawmaker claimed Thursday.

The hackers stole classified information by planting malicious codes and programs into the computer networks of the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD), Rep. Kim Young-joo of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy said in a press release.

The leaked intelligence included information related to South Korea's development of mid-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (MUAV) aimed at strengthening its reconnaissance and inspection capabilities against North Korea, she claimed.

The lawmaker did not say how she found out about the alleged leak.

"All 3,000 or more computers at ADD were hacked, and yet ADD and the military are unaware of when the hacking took place or how extensive the damage is," Kim said.

The revelations call for a thorough investigation and countermeasures as ADD is a key arm of the defense ministry that has been tasked with analyzing the suspected North Korean drones that were recently found crashed near the border, she said.

ADD reported the case to the police on Wednesday only after Kim requested confirmation of the suspected leak, she added.

The agency, however, denied most of the lawmaker's claims, saying the leaked documents did not contain classified information.

"The documents were technical material written by ADD and (relevant) businesses for the production of equipment developed by ADD. They were not classified documents, but regular ones," the agency said in a statement.

It also said that all of its research is carried out within the agency's intranet, which is completely blocked from outside access.

"After closely inspecting ADD's computer networks three times, no trace of outside hacking was found," it said.

The agency added that a military investigation is under way upon its request in order to determine whether email accounts and other programs connected to the Internet could have been hacked.

hague@yna.co.kr
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