North Korea blames US, South Korea for 'intensive' cyberattacks

South Korean soldiers stand guard at the border village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on Feb. 27, 2013 in South Korea.


Chung Sung-Jun

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has accused the US and South Korea of waging cyber war on its state websites.

"Internet servers operated by our republic have come under daily cyber attack[s] which are persistent and intensive," the regime-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

KCNA claimed several official websites, including its own and those of state newspaper the Rodong Sinmun and national airline Air Koryo, had suffered disruption in recent days.

The news agency accused the US and South Korea, which are currently engaged in their annual joint naval drills off the Korean Peninsula, of mustering their cyberforces to "sabotage" North Korea.

The report didn't specify what damage, if any, had been done, CNN noted, and by Friday morning all the sites mentioned appeared to be back online. 

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GlobalPost senior correspondent in Korea, Geoffrey Cain, said there's no way to know for sure whether KCNA is telling the truth that American cyber-militants tried to bring down North Korean servers.

"But the biggest irony is that, of all regimes, North Korea is the one making a fuss about hacking," Cain said from Seoul.

That's because in 2011, the South Korean government accused the North of hacking the servers of one of its largest banks, shutting down ATMs. In 2009, investigators also claimed that a North Korean group operating in China attacked servers in the country.

The South also accused the North of jamming the GPS of hundreds of civilian ships and aircraft last year, according to Agence France-Presse.

Relations between Pyongyang and Seoul are currently at their lowest point in years following North Korea's nuclear test and the ensuing international condemnation.

North Korea has responded with increasingly war-like rhetoric, even to the point of revoking the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War

"We'll never sit idle in the face of such cyber attacks by the enemy ... which have reached an extremely reckless and grave stage," KCNA said today. 

US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to hold phone talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se this weekend.

Geoffrey Cain contributed to this report from Seoul.

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