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NongHyup demands 5 bln won from AhnLab over North Korean cyberattack

2013/10/04 17:44

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- NongHyup Bank said Friday that it will demand 5 billion won (US$4.7 million) from AhnLab Inc., an antivirus software firm, for damage from an allegedly North Korea-led cyberattack in March.

The banking unit of NongHyup Financial Group Inc. said AhnLab's software program failed to deal with malicious code attacks on March 20, inflicting financial damage to the company.

"Since April, NongHyup has been negotiating with AhnLab concerning damages of the cyberattack," an official from the bank said. "If they fail to reach an agreement, the issue will move on to a lawsuit."

   Meanwhile, AhnLab said it is not fully responsible for the damage incurred from the attack, adding that it has not received specific demands for compensation from the bank.

"The negotiations with NongHyup are comprehensive but are not based on financial compensations," an official from AhnLab said. "Some damages of the March cyberattack are not attributable to our company."

   On March 20, three broadcasters KBS, MBC and YTN, three banks Shinhan, Nonghyup and Jeju, and two insurance firms reported to the National Police Agency that their computer networks were shut down for unknown reasons.

Amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government in April announced that North Korea was behind the massive hacking attack. North Korea, however, denied its alleged involvement in the incident.

AhnLab, South Korea's No. 1 computer virus software firm, became a high-profile venture company last year when its former founder Ahn Cheol-soo ran in the presidential election. Ahn later withdrew his candidacy.