N. Korea accuses U.S. of "intensive" cyberattacks

Amid growing tension, Chuck Hagel will announce plans to bolster missile defenses in U.S.

Published March 15, 2013 5:19PM (EDT)

North Korea has been known to regularly attempt cyberattacks on the South Korean government. On Friday, however, Pyongyang accused the U.S. of carrying out "intensive and persistent" attacks on its computer networks.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated Friday, "It is nobody's secret that the U.S. and South Korean puppet regime are massively bolstering up cyber forces in a bid to intensify the subversive activities and sabotages against the DPRK [North Korea]."

Via Reuters:

North Korea has itself been blamed for spreading malicious software that crashed the websites of government agencies and businesses, and for a cyber attack on a South Korean state-run bank server in 2011 that took more than a week to fix.

North Korea denies cyber attacks and accuses the South of a conspiracy to fuel confrontation, although defectors from the North have said that Pyongyang is recruiting thousands of computer engineers to its cyber warfare unit.

Military experts have said cyber warfare is a major threat from North Korea, along with its conventional forces and its weapons of mass destruction program, posing a security risk to utilities and communication networks in the South.

Meanwhile, as Reuters also reported Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel appears to be taking the growing threat of a missile attack from North Korea more seriously. Friday afternoon, Hagel is expected to announce "a plan to bolster U.S. missile defenses in Alaska to counter the growing North Korean threat, a U.S. defense official said." According to the news agency:

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, did not offer additional details. But a top Pentagon official said on March 12 the United States had the ability to swiftly deploy up to 14 additional ground-based missile interceptors, if needed, in Alaska.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Chuck Hagel Cyberattack Cyberthreat Missile Defense Missiles North Korea Pyongyang South Korea