(AA) – South Korean investigators said Tuesday that North Korea was likely to have behind recent threats against its neighbor’s nuclear power infrastructure.
The cyber hacking allegation is the latest to fall upon Pyongyang, following last year’s high-profile attack on Sony Pictures over its release of North Korea-themed movie “The Interview.”
Addressing a media briefing, South Korean prosecutor Choi Yun-soo played down the impact of December’s emergence of a hacker threatening to destroy certain nuclear facilities unless they were shut down.
The anonymous figure, a self-described anti-nuclear activist, rose to prominence at a time when aging power plants were the subject of protests in South Korea.
Online posts, supported by facility blueprints, threatened to wreak havoc on Christmas Day.
But as that deadline came and went, Seoul consistently dismissed the ‘leaks’ as publicly available data.
The hacker then returned to the public eye last week, asking for money in return for refraining from exposing information that would undermine burgeoning nuclear cooperation deals forged during South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s trip to the Middle East this month.
Choi told Tuesday’s briefing that the information was taken from emails and online communities rather than the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. network — and that it was “mostly for training and education and far from critical.”
He also suggested that a group of North Korean hackers, rather than a single individual, were believed to be responsible.
The basis for the assumption was the malicious code similarity from previous attacks, as well as the location of Internet protocol addresses.
Pyongyang — despite claims that it has a sophisticated cyber hacking division at its disposal — has maintained its innocence in the face of multiple allegations, including those concerning the attack on Sony Pictures and previous disruptions to South Korea’s financial and media networks