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Investigation underway into hacking attempt using purported document on N.K. leader's speech

All News 11:56 January 04, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- An investigation is underway to determine who is behind a phishing email attached with a purported unification ministry document assessing the North Korean leader's New Year's address, a ministry official said Friday.

Earlier, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on the hacking attempt using spear-phishing, in which a malicious code infects a computer once an email is opened. Attached to the email was the unification ministry-generated analysis document on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's 2019 New Year's address.

The report said the North is presumed to be behind the attack.

"We recognized (the cyberattack) on Thursday," Baik Tae-hyun, the ministry's spokesman, said at a regular press briefing. "An investigation is underway in cooperation with relevant agencies."

He did not answer a question about whether the attack might have originated from North Korea. Nor did he say who was targeted by the cyberattack.

RFA reported that the attack appears to have targeted agencies and organizations handling affairs related to North Korea, but it did not specify them.

The incident came about a week after the ministry announced that personal information of around 1,000 North Korean defectors had been compromised through a malicious code-infected computer at a state-run center helping their resettlement.

A ministry official earlier said that he cannot say whether the attack had come from North Korea as an investigation is still ongoing.


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