North Korea allegedly hacked into more than 140,000 computers at 160 South Korean firms and government agencies, planting malicious code in a long-term plan to lay the groundwork for a massive cyber attack against its rival, police in South Korea said Monday.
South Korea's police cyber investigation unit claim that the hacking began in 2014 and was detected in February after North Korea supposedly managed to steal information from two conglomerates including defense-related material.
"There is a high possibility that the North aimed to cause confusion on a national scale by launching a simultaneous attack after securing many targets of cyber terror, or intended to continuously steal industrial and military secrets," it said.
The south Korean Republic of Korea has been on heightened alert against cyber attacks by the northern Democratic People's Republic of Korea after Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February that led to new U.N. sanctions. The North has always denied wrongdoing.
The hackers took no action after gaining control of the servers and computers of corporations. The alleged Pyongyang-directed hackers waited as they continued to gain access to more targets in what police claim was likely an effort to increase the scale of a potential planned attack.