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2010/01/08 16:22 KST
S. Korea to launch cyber command next week

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will launch a military cyber command next week to tackle the increasing threat of cyber attacks by North Korea, the country's defense ministry said Friday.

   Seoul's first cyber command, to be led by a one-star general, will begin official duties on Monday, working on Internet hacking prevention, cyber security and restoration of damaged networks. It will also carry out military operations in cyberspace in cases of emergency, the defense ministry said in a press release.

   The independent command will represent the country's military in case of a major cyber crisis like the "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks that took place last July, the ministry said.

   Officials here suspect that North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South, was behind the major cyber assault that paralyzed dozens of South Korean and U.S. government Web sites last summer.

   The 1950-53 conflict between the two Koreas ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

   Ministry officials said earlier that the independent unit will be manned by some 200 computer specialists.

   According to South Korea's Defense Security Command, North Korea operates a cyber warfare unit that specializes in hacking into South Korean and U.S. military networks. Most attacks by North Korean hackers are believed to take place via China.