South Korea should remain alert for the threat of North Korean cyber attacks on banking systems, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin warned Thursday.
Kim was answering a question at at a press conference on Thursday about recent computer networking problems at the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.
"We don't think that the North is to blame for the latest computer problems, but we can't underestimate its hacking capabilities," he said. However, he added there is "zero chance" that the Defense Ministry will come under hacker attack because it has its own Intranet.
Kim apparently made the remarks in view of the North Korean military's project to train a large number of professional hackers and boost cyber warfare capabilities, including attempts to destroy South Korea's banking networks.
The North attempted to disturb electromagnetic waves in the Seoul metropolitan area early this year and was also suspected of being behind so-called massive denial-of-service attacks targeting the websites of Cheong Wa Dae and other government agencies.
The North began training professional hackers in 1986 when it established Pyongyang Automation University, also known as Mirim University. Leader Kim Jong-il reportedly takes an interest in a specialist lab dubbed "No. 110 Research Institute." "Modern war is electronic warfare. Victory or defeat in a modern war depends on how to carry out electronic warfare," he had been quoted as saying.