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North Korean hackers blamed for sweeping cyber attack on US networks

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Hwang Gwang-Mo/Yonhap/Reuters

(Read caption) Police officers from National Police Agency show a seized computer which was used for hacking at the agency's headquarters in Seoul July 8. South Korean authorities issued a cyber-security warning on Wednesday after the Web sites of government agencies and financial institutions were disabled by apparent hacker attacks, possibly linked to North Korea.

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A series of attacks on computer networks in South Korea and the US was apparently the work of North Korean hackers, several news agencies are reporting today. The attacks, which targeted the White House, the Pentagon, and the Washington Post, among other high-level institutions, are raising concerns that the long-simmering conflict with North Korea is expanding into a dangerous new theater.

According to Seoul's National Intelligence Service, the "attacks appeared to have been elaborately prepared and staged by a certain organization or state." In that statement, North Korea was not specifically named, but the Yonhap news agency said the NIS had traced the attacks to North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces.

"The NIS has been telling committee members that North Korea or a pro-North Korean force might be behind the cyber terror," a South Korean legislator told Yonhap. The statement has not been independently verified, and South Korean intelligence agency say the matter remains under investigation.

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