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North Korea launches 'thousands' of cyberattacks on south

Posting in Government

The South Korean government says that their Northern counterparts have launched thousands of cyberattacks in recent years.

On Tuesday, ruling party MP Chung Hee-Soo said that financial losses caused by cyber warfare involving North Korea have cost the country approximately $805 million in the last few years, and has placed sensitive national data at risk. Chung commented:

"A lot of data related to our national infrastructure, including chemical storage facilities and information relating to personal financial dealings have been stolen."

Chung said that the South Korean military alone had been the target of 6,392 North Korean cyber attacks since 2010, and attacks have included website intrusions, service takedowns and the use of malware to steal data and cripple systems.

"Our military's cyber warfare ability to fend off such attacks is incomparable to the North's, which is known to be one of the world's best," Chung noted. According to the government official, damages caused by cyberattacks amount to roughly 860 billion won ($805 million).

Last month, Kaspersky Lab said it uncovered an active North Korean online espionage campaign that targeted research institutes in South Korea and China, including the Sejong Institute, the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA), Hyundai Merchant Marine, and the Supporters of Korean Unification, a non-government organisation.

While the south's number of cyberdefense specialists is no more than several hundred, North Korea is believed to be training and using thousands of personnel. According to Won Sei-hoon, former chief of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, said there were 1,000 professional hackers in North Korea's cyberwarfare unit in 2009 -- and this number is likely to have grown.

North Korea has continually denied any involvement in cybercrime, and claims these accusations are part of a global conspiracy against the nation.

Via: Security Week

Image credit: Flickr

— By on October 15, 2013, 3:32 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure