North Korea takes cyber aim against South Korea's businesses

"In the past, the North focused its cyber terrorist attacks on major government agencies, but it has recently been expanding attacks on the civilian sector, including finance, aviation, transportation, and electric power," an official with the center was quoted by Chosun Ilbo newspaper as saying.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), which oversees the center, said that North Korea is launching cyberattacks against private corporations indirectly by hacking computers controlled by contractors who maintain and repair their computer systems.

The NIS gave as an example the cyberattack against the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup) in April. At the time, a computer of an IBM Korea contractor who maintained Nonghyup's computer systems was allegedly hacked by North Korea.

An NIS officer said the North's General Bureau of Reconnaissance has about 1,000 hackers who create malicious computer code and launch cyberattacks. The NIS estimates that North Korea attempts up to 250 million cyberattacks against South Korea every day.

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