May 15, 2011 / 7:46 AM / in 7 years

North Korea rejects South charge it was behind bank cyber attack

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea on Sunday rejected allegations by the rival South that it was behind a cyber attack that paralyzed the computer network of a South Korean bank last month and accused Seoul of inventing a conspiracy to justify physical confrontation.

The accusation that North Korean hackers were responsible for bringing down Nonghyup bank was the same type of fabrication as Seoul’s assertion that Pyongyang sank one of its navy ships in March last year, a North Korean government agency said.

“The Nonghyup computer network crash is nothing more than a repeat of the Cheonan incident,” the National Defense Commission, the North’s supreme leadership body, said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

“It is an act akin to digging its own grave that (the South) is running about madly clinging to confrontation with its compatriots through crudely fabricated schemes,” the commission said.

The computer crash at Nonghyup affected millions of customers who were unable to use the bank’s credit cards and ATMs for more than a week, exposing the South’s heavily wired financial system’s vulnerability to organized cyber attacks.

South Korean prosecutors said the hacking was masterminded by a group of North Korean state-backed experts also responsible for previous cyber attacks on government and corporate sites in the South.

North Korea has denied it was involved in the sinking of the South Korean navy ship Cheonan in March last year that killed 46 sailors, rejecting what Seoul and Western countries presented as evidence of Pyongyang’s responsibility.

Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Ron Popeski

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