South Korea’s National Intelligence Service has warned US media companies against printing stories about North Korea or its leader Kim Jong Un, and warned that they could be banned by the United Nations.
The warning comes as North Korea continues to test missiles, including one this week that flew over the US territory of Guam.
In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the intelligence agency said that in its annual report on cyberthreats issued in October, the agency said North Korea was “increasingly involved in cyber attacks”.
It cited the use of “fraudulent or otherwise manipulative social media accounts” and “virus, malware and botnet operations” that it said were used by the North to target businesses, political groups and individuals in South Korea.
“The use of fake or fake accounts or online identities can lead to the creation of malicious software and malware programs that can carry out malicious activities in South Korean businesses, organizations, governments, or people’s homes, the letter said.
The NIS also said South Korea had not seen an “increasing number of cyber incidents and attacks that were launched from North Korea.”
The NIST said in its report that South Korean companies should be prepared to “immediately take measures to ensure the safety of the employees, customers and users” of their business and government.
South Korea said the warning was “an appropriate response” to the North’s use of social media to attack the South. “
If a company or business is affected by such activities, it may take appropriate measures to protect its own business operations,” the letter continued.
South Korea said the warning was “an appropriate response” to the North’s use of social media to attack the South.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement Tuesday that North Korea’s cyber activities pose a threat to national security.
He said the threat of cyber attacks was “more serious than ever” and the country will take “all necessary measures to defend our sovereignty and national interests”.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to AP questions on the North Korean threat.
North Korea has repeatedly denied it is behind a cyberattack on South Korea or the United States, and President Donald Trump has accused it of conducting “surgical strikes” on Guam.
A South Korean military official said the North fired the missile, but did not specify which country.
South Koreans have been targeted in cyberattacks before.
A US intelligence report in 2015 said North Korean hackers had attempted to disrupt North Korean state television, and South Korean security officials said in the latest letter that a hacker group that was identified as being affiliated with the North tried to attack a South Korea-based computer network in January.
The intelligence agency also said the group was “attempting to infiltrate the South Korean government through the use and sale of cyber security technology”.
The NSS said that it had identified cyber-enabled attacks by North Korea in “multiple countries, including China, Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates”.
It said North Koreans “continue to target the United Kingdom, the United Republic of Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, the European Union and other countries with malicious and destructive activities”.
The letter said North Koreas use of cyber tools to attack South Korean entities was “very sophisticated and dangerous”, and it warned that it was “not unusual” for North Korea to target South Korean and US entities in cyber operations.
The North Korean government has accused Washington of “attention-grabbing” over the nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.
But it has also blamed Washington for not responding to its repeated requests to stop its activities.
The two countries have not been able to agree on a long-term security plan for North Korean leader Kim Jung-un.
North Korean officials have also accused Washington and South Korea of plotting a military coup.
AP reporters Kim Jae-min and Shin Seok-young in Seoul contributed to this report.