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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a military drill in this undated photo from the Korean Central News Agency.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a military drill in this undated photo from the Korean Central News Agency. (Courtesy of KCNA)

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has denied involvement in a cyberattack against the South Korean military, calling the allegations a “childish, slanderous ploy” by Seoul to distract people from the president’s political crisis.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said Tuesday that an investigation showed that North Koreans had apparently hacked into its internal cyber network and may have compromised some classified materials earlier this year.

As evidence, ministry officials said the Internet Protocol address linked to the attack had been traced to a location in China that was previously used by North Korean hackers.

An article published Friday on North Korea’s main propaganda website, Uriminzokkiri, rejected the accusation, saying hackers would never allow their IP addresses to be exposed.

“People who try to hack never make a mortal mistake such as leaking IP addresses, which can blow their cover or be used as decisive evidence,” it said.

The writer, identified as Chang Gilsung, said the hacking report was “a downright lie and childish, slanderous ploy” by the South Korean government as it makes desperate efforts to stay in power.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, a frequent target of the North’s ire, has faced weeks of mass protests calling for her resignation or impeachment over an influence-peddling and corruption scandal.

Military investigators said Wednesday the suspected hackers accessed the network through a server at the armed forces’ main information center, the Yonhap news agency reported.

The defense ministry said 3,200 computers, including one used by Defense Minister Han Min-koo, were contaminated with malware in the Aug. 4 attack. It said some military documents were hacked but did not provide details.

The cyber command, which was established in January 2010 to counter such attacks, separated the affected server from the rest of the network in October, two months after the initial infiltration, Yonhap reported.

Pyongyang has been accused of staging numerous cyberattacks, but this was the first such breach of the South Korean military’s intranet. North Korea has denied past allegations of hacking as well.

Stars and Stripes staffer Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this report.

gamel.kim@stripes.com

Twitter: @kimgamel


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