North Korean media has slammed accusations by Seoul that it was involved in a cyberattack against South Korea's military cyber command, calling the claims a "childish plot" designed to distract the public from the political woes of (now former) president, Park Geun-hye.
Earlier this week, South Korea accused North Korea of planting computer malware on a military intranet system and trying to steal classified information. Officials said the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses linked to the incident had previously been used by hackers aligned with Pyongyang.
In response, Uriminzokkiri, North Korea's state-controlled news website, said sophisticated hackers would never make the mistake of exposing their identities or revealing their IP signatures. "If we are behind the hacking, why would we use the IP address that the South takes issue with?" an article said.
The report, published on 9 December (Friday) by a writer using the name Chang Gilsung, slammed the hacking accusations as "a childish plot" to divert attention from politics in South Korea. It added: "It is not difficult to see that the North hacking theory, which the puppet party makes [with] a loud voice, is a lie."
The writer said the hacking claims revealed the "filthy identity of Park Geun-hye" – who was impeached following a much-publicised influence-peddling scandal on the same day the North Korean report emerged. Park, 64, was overwhelmingly opposed by parliament in a crucial vote.
On 6 December, South Korea's defence ministry confirmed a total of 3,200 computers, including 700 linked with the intranet system, were contaminated with malicious software in the cyberattack, which occurred on 4 August. Officials admitted "some military documents" were accessed.
As noted, authorities said the code used had previously been identified as being used by North Korea hackers. Additionally, the attack reportedly originated from a locations in China where many North Korean state-backed adversaries have launched attacks in the past.
"We are still in the process of determining what data were leaked. We found the hackers infiltrated the intranet using the main server but information in the server remains intact," an official at the ministry of national defence told the Yonhap News Agency.
"We cannot give out details on what information was leaked, because it might give [North Korea] an advantage in the ongoing cyber warfare," the source added. According to Yonhap, the targeted intranet system is linked to computers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.