South Korea blames the North for cyberattacks that hit banks, broadcasters
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
Members of the Korea Internet Security Agency check on cyber attacks in Seoul on March 20.
- It's the first time the South has officially accused the North of conducting the attacks
- Seoul says the codes used were similar to ones used before by Pyongyang
- The attacks last month infected thousands of computers at major companies
(CNN) -- South Korea accused North Korea Wednesday of carrying out a wave of cyberattacks that paralyzed the networks of major South Korean banks and broadcasters last month.
An official investigation found that many of the malignant codes employed in the attacks were similar to ones used by the North previously, said Lee Seung-won, an official at the South Korean science ministry.
Although some observers said at the time of the computer crashes that they suspected North Korean involvement, this is the first time that Seoul has formally pointed the finger at Pyongyang.
The allegations coincide with a tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, with the North making repeated threats of war. South Korean and U.S. officials have warned that a North Korean missile test could take place at any moment.
North Korea's war of words escalates: A timeline of the crisis
Meet South Korea's 'cyber warriors'
Experiencing a potential cyberattack
South Korea believes North Korea had spent at least eight months preparing for the cyberattacks, which also affected hundreds of individual citizens' computers and websites that cover North Korea, Lee said at a news briefing Wednesday.
There didn't appear to be any immediate reaction on North Korean state-run media to the South Korean accusations.
The main hacking attack took place on March 20, hitting more than 48,000 computers at the South Korean banks and broadcasters, authorities said.
It infected the companies' computer networks with a malicious program, or malware, that slowed or shut down systems.
The South's investigation found evidence including IP addresses and other elements used in the cyberattacks that it said proved North Korean responsibility.
The hackers routed the attacks through more 10 different countries, Lee said.
South Korea has accused the North of similar hacking attacks before, including incidents in 2010 and 2012 that also targeted banks and media organizations. Pyongyang has rejected the allegations.
DMZ: Tensions high at knife-edge of Korean conflict
Journalist Lee Hyun-pyo in Seoul contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0817 GMT (1617 HKT)
Families torn apart for more than 60 years -- separated by the Korean War -- began to reunite at a mountain resort in North Korea Thursday.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state, the UN reported.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0431 GMT (1231 HKT)
Former prisoners in North Korea describe horrific stories of being tortured by authorities.
February 14, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
Skiing is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the isolated nation, but North Korea's ski resort is world class.
February 8, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
American Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea, has been moved from a hospital to a labor camp.
January 8, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
Why is he being held by North Korea in a prison camp? These are the questions for many since his arrest in the isolated country in 2012.
January 27, 2014 -- Updated 0818 GMT (1618 HKT)
The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked.
January 8, 2014 -- Updated 0126 GMT (0926 HKT)
Dennis Rodman's "Big Bang in Pyongyang" may be in a league of its own, but other stars too have mixed with repressive regimes before.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives in North Korea to train basketball players, state-run media reports.
December 18, 2013 -- Updated 0250 GMT (1050 HKT)
The nation held a memorial in the honor of former North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il on the second anniversary of his death.
December 13, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Days after he was removed from his powerful military post, Jang Song Thaek was called a traitor and executed.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)
Freed U.S. veteran, Merrill Newman who was detained in North Korea, had no idea his innocent remarks about the war would cause problems.
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
An 85-year-old American man detained and later let go by North Korean authorities described his time in custody as comfortable.
Today's five most popular stories