North Korea has rejected as “shameless fabrications” the South’s accusations that Pyongyang carried out cyber attacks against officials in Seoul, saying such claims are politically-motivated.
North Korea said in an editorial published on Sunday by the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper that the hacking accusations were fabricated by “enemy forces who are obsessed with confrontation and political slander.”
“The South is claiming the North’s cyber attack and uses it for its own political purpose,” the report said, adding that such allegations have been fabricated by the South to gather parliamentary support for its controversial surveillance legislation.
Last week, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) said agents in the North had stolen phone numbers and text messages of 40 security officials after hacking into their smartphones.
Earlier this year, the NIS claimed North Korean hackers sent phishing emails to Seoul’s railway authorities in order to carry out cyber attacks against traffic control systems.
This comes as Seoul is trying to gain support for an anti-cyber terror bill that would give the NIS greater surveillance powers. The bill is currently pending approval by the South Korean National Assembly.
Opponents of the bill, however, argue that more powers for the NIS could be used against political opponents in the country.
Seoul has in the past accused Pyongyang of carrying out cyber attacks against its military institutions, banks, government entities, television networks, and a nuclear power plant. North Korea has denied the allegations.
Relations between North and South Korea have been characterized by consistent tension. The two neighbors fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since.
However, tensions have escalated further recently following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January and the start of joint military exercises by Washington and Seoul.
Earlier this month, the United Nations approved its harshest sanctions crafted by the US against the nation over its recent nuclear test and rocket launch in February, marking a further escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.