S. Korea says N. Korea staged cyberattacks

March 7, 2016
A woman walks by a sign at Cyber Terror Response Center of National Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea. Most North Koreans have never even seen the Internet. But the country Washington suspects is behind a devastating hack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has managed to orchestrate a string of crippling cyber infiltrations of South Korean computer systems in recent years, officials in Seoul believe, despite North Korea protesting innocence. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

FILE — A woman walks by a sign at Cyber Terror Response Center of National Police Agency in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — North Korea has attempted to hack into the smartphones of key South Korean officials and launched cyberattacks against its rail operator, the country’s intelligence agency said Monday, in what may be another round of cyberattacks against the South.

Still, the National Intelligence Service did not elaborate on whether any of the smartphones were compromised.

The intelligence agency said it plans to hold an emergency meeting on cybersecurity with the relevant ministries on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with North Korea’s cyberattacks.

The meeting “is designed to check the readiness” of the government in coping with hacking attacks by North Korea, the National Intelligence Service said.

North Korea has a track record of waging cyberattacks on South Korea and the United States in recent years, though it has flatly denied any involvement.

The North’s latest cyberattacks came amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula following Pyongyang’s nuclear test and long-range rocket launch earlier this year.

On Monday, North Korea threatened to take military counteraction and go into a preemptive attack mode in response to the largest joint military drills being held by South Korea and the U.S.

The North claims the joint military drills are a rehearsal for a nuclear war against it.

President Park Geun-hye, meanwhile, called on government officials earlier in the day to thoroughly cope with any possible cyberattacks from North Korea and to make efforts for parliamentary endorsement of a bill meant to prevent cyberattacks.