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South Korea sets up cyberwarfare unit to repel NORK hackers

M*A*S*H with hackers instead of medics

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South Korea has launched a cyberwarfare command centre designed to fight against possible hacking attacks blamed on North Korea and China.

The division boasts a reported 200 techies, who will be tasked with tackling a reported 95,000 hacking attacks the country's military networks face every day. North Korea was blamed for a wave of attacks against US and South Korean websites last July. However since botnets were used in the attack the true orchestrator of the assault remains unclear.

More recently North Korean hackers were blamed for lifting a secret US-South Korean war plan from South Korean systems last month. Some reports suggest the hack may have relied on the use of an insecure (malware infected?) memory stick.

Earlier Trojan-based attacks targeted at South Korean government agencies dating back to 2004 were blamed on Chinese hackers rumoured to have the support or perhaps even the involvement of the Peoples' Liberation Army.

The South's cyberwar centre can also be seen as a response to a rumored cyberwarfare unit already operating out of North Korea. Rumours have it the unit is staffed by around 100 including graduates from a military academy in Pyongyang. Whatever the truth of these reports it's probably fair to say that cyber-paranoia is rife on both sides of the 51st parallel. ®

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