SEOUL — South Korea’s Ministry of Defense this week set up a command to counter cyberattacks originating from hackers and other countries.

The unit was launched Monday and will operate in a cyber warfare center under command of a brigadier general, a ministry news release said.

Ministry officials declined to answer questions about the unit, citing security issues.

The release said the unit is designed to systematically respond to rapidly rising cyber threats.

An attack last summer, which officials blamed on North Korea, shut down thousands of South Korean government computers, according to media reports. North Korean hackers were also suspected in December of gaining access to a U.S.-South Korea plan to defend the peninsula.

Calling cyberspace "a new battlefield for the future," the new command will serve to fend off attacks and unify cyber information protection that has previously been dispersed to a number of different government agencies.

To make the process work, the command will share information on new hacking tactics and viruses, build technological cooperation with related organizations, and develop and maintain a cadre of skilled cyberwarriors, according to the release.

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