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S. Korea slams N. Korea over hacking attacks

All Headlines 18:33 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea denounced North Korea Wednesday for staging cyberattacks against Seoul officials as it called for thorough measures to minimize any possible damages.

The latest cyberattacks "are a grave provocation directly connected to the security of our country and people," presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk said in a statement.

He said the cyberattacks are designed to paralyze and disrupt South Korea following the North's nuclear test in January.

The statement came a day after South Korea accused North Korea of stealing information from about 10 South Korean officials by hacking into their smartphones.

The National Intelligence Service said North Korean hackers gained access to lists of phone conversations, along with the contents of text messages and phone conversations from the compromised smartphones.

Jeong also said North Korea is attempting to hack into the financial security network used by more than 20 million South Koreans for banking and credit card transactions on the Internet.

The intelligence service said it confirmed last month that North Korean hackers controlled the internal computer network of a South Korean firm whose security software is used by more than 20 million South Koreans for financial transactions on the Internet. Still, no ordinary South Koreans were affected and the damage was restricted to the company's server.

Jeong said South Korea "should thoroughly brace for North Korea's constant provocations to minimize damages."

The latest cyberattacks came amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year.

South Korea and the U.S. began the largest-ever annual military drill on Monday in the latest show of force against North Korea. In response, North Korea threatened to counter with a preemptive attack.

North Korea -- which has thousands of cyberwarfare personnel -- has a track record of waging cyberattacks on South Korea and the U.S. in recent years, though it has flatly denied any involvement.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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