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N. Korea cited as threat in cyberspace, requires global cooperation: official

All Headlines 17:56 October 12, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. government official dealing with cyberspace security said Wednesday that North Korea, along with China, Russia and Iran, has "great capabilities" to conduct hacking operations, raising worries over growing threats emanating from the reclusive state.

Christopher Painter, coordinator of cyber issues at the U.S. Department of State also said during a telephone media briefing that Washington and Seoul are closely cooperating to respond to the threats and will continue the efforts going forward.

"We've characterized... four countries... that have great capabilities that have posed threats over time: China, Russia, North Korea and Iran," he said. "(From) North Korea, we've certainly seen a lot of activity over the years even directed at the U.S."

Recalling the North's alledged 2014 hacking attack on entertainment company Sony Pictures, the official said that it was a "big deal" in the U.S. in raising awareness of the threat from the country. He, however, noted that the cyberthreat from the North is also a primary threat facing South Korea.

"The North Korean government after that... that clearly was a very big deal in the U.S. and certainly I know that from South Korea's standpoint, North Korea is one of the primary threats that they see," he said.

He expressed concerns about such activities and potential attacks targeting U.S. financial systems, saying that various means are being used to meet those cyberspace threats and that cooperation with other countries including South Korea is one of the efforts.

"We started over the years a number of whole-of-government's dialogues with different countries, which means we bring... a range of agencies that include our economic and our security agencies that then meet with our counterparts in the other countries," he said.

"South Korea is one of the first countries who wants that whole-of-government dialogue that we have every year. That's been very productive, and we'll, of course, continue to do that." he added.

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