(ATTN: UPDATES with comments in paras 7-9; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday imposed unilateral sanctions on a North Korean hacking group known as Kimsuky, Seoul's foreign ministry said, in response to Pyongyang's botched rocket launch aimed at putting a military spy satellite into space.
Seoul also issued a joint security advisory with Washington to warn the international community on the illegal activities of the group accused of having engaged in information and technology theft.
According to the ministry, Kimsuky, a unit within the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North's military intelligence agency, is accused of collecting intelligence from individuals and institutions in the fields of diplomacy, security and national defense, and delivering it to the North Korean regime.
The group is also known to have engaged in acquiring cutting-edge technologies related to weapons development, satellites and space technology worldwide, as well as having been directly or indirectly contributing to North Korea's satellite development project.
Seoul's announcement marks the world's first unilateral sanctions against the North Korean hacking group. It also represents the eighth unilateral sanctions measure against the North since the launch of the Yoon Suk Yeol administration in May last year.
The joint Seoul-Washington advisory on Kimsuky provides detailed information about the hacking techniques employed by the group and recommends taking precautions against suspicious activities to prevent potential damage.
The advisory was issued together by South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Korean National Police Agency (KPNA) and the foreign ministry, along with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state department and the National Security Agency.
Lee Jun-il, director-general at the ministry's bureau of North Korean nuclear affairs, told reporters the announcement marked the first time in which the two countries governments, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic authorities have jointly issued a security advisory on cyber threats from North Korea.
"Today's measure also demonstrates the strong determination of the South Korean government in response to North Korea, which has threatened further provocations following the launch of a long-range ballistic missile under the pretext of a satellite," Lee said during a briefing.
Choi Hyun-seok, head of the KPNA's cyber crime investigative bureau, said police plan to cooperate closely with the ministry and the NIS to take comprehensive measures in responding to North Korea's hacking attacks.
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