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South Korea accuses North of targeting nuclear reactors with cyberattacks

South Korea has vowed to bolster cyber security after hackers allegedly targeted nuclear plants. Seoul claimed that intention of the breaches was to cause a malfunction and promote civil unrest, endangering lives.

Nordkorea Internet

Seoul blames hackers from North Korea for targeting its nuclear facilities

South Korea accused North Korea of targeting its nuclear power plant operator in a sophisticated cyber attack that it said threatened its citizen's lives and safety.

"It's a clear provocation against our security," South Korea's unification ministry said Tuesday after investigators announced that the North was behind the attacks.

Hackers in North Korea allegedly sent nearly 6,000 phishing emails containing malicious codes to more than 3,500 current and former nuclear power plant workers

over a span for four days in mid-December

.

"We've reached the conclusion that the crime was committed by a group of North Korean hackers seeking to stir up social unrest and agitation in our country," the investigators said in a statement.

The investigation team reported that the hack had intended to cause a malfunction at nuclear reactors but failed to break into vital control systems

Rising tensions between the two Koreas

These fresh allegations come less than a week after a hacker - believed to be behind the cyber attacks on the utility giant Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd - released more sensitive files on Twitter relating to power plant blueprints, manuals and employee data.

The hackers' IP addresses came from a Chinese city near the border with North Korea, leading the South to name Pyongyang as the culprit.

This comes as tensions between two Koreas remains elevated amid US-South Korean military drills that the North has condemned as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

In a separate statement, the South Korean government vowed Tuesday to strengthen the country's cybersecurity by setting up a taskforce for cyberdefense.

jar/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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