North Korea has about 200 agents who spend their time posting comments online to undermine South Korean morale, while the whole contingent of 3,000 cyber warfare experts under the General Bureau of Reconnaissance wage cyber terrorism against the South, a private South Korean think tank claims.
The think tank, which studies strategies against North Korea, made the claim in a seminar at the Seoul Press Center on Monday afternoon.
It said the North's cyber warfare troops develop and distribute apps to subvert South Korean efforts to block pro-North Korean websites and conduct guerrilla-style hacking attacks by constantly changing IP addresses and connecting other sites with pro-North Korean sites.
Ryu Dong-ryul of the Police Policy Institute said, "The North has established a team of online trolls at the United Front Department and the Reconnaissance General Bureau." About 200 agents post comments on major South Korean portals and disguise their identity using personal information stolen from South Koreans, he added.
The United Front Department wages its cyber psychological warfare through some 140 sites with servers based in 19 countries. In 2011, North Korean agents posted 27,090 items of propaganda materials against the South, and in 2012 some 41,373, the seminar heard.
South Korea's cyber security capabilities are paltry in comparison. The regime teaches young computer whiz kids about basic hacking technologies at a couple of elite middle schools in Pyongyang. The best then go on to Kim Il-sung Military University, Mirim University or Kim Chaek University of Technology to train as cyber agents for about 10 years.
Lim Jong-in of Korea University said altogether some 30,000 North Koreans are engaged in cyber and psychological warfare against South Korea, and every year another 300 personnel are trained in the dark arts, compared to a mere 30 in South Korea.