Hackers of North Korean origin gained control of five websites belonging to defector organizations and North Korea research groups in the South. Photo by McIek/Shutterstock
SEOUL, July 22 (UPI) -- North Korea launched cyberattacks on defector organizations in South Korea and denounced the balloon launches of anti-Pyongyang leaflets by civic groups on Wednesday.
North Korea's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun said the act of propaganda leaflet launches was a ploy and an act of provocation from the rival South that was "hiding its true confrontational colors," according to news agency Yonhap.
The leaflet launches were cited as a reason for Pyongyang's refusal to meet with Seoul at the parliamentary speaker's level and blamed the activities for increased tensions, South Korean television network SBS reported.
The distribution of leaflets across the border was releasing "embers of conflict," North Korea said, an "extremely dangerous" provocation that was a sign of an impending "invasion of North Korea."
Human rights groups in South Korea, often defector-led, have been condemned by Pyongyang.
Last week, South Korean activist Park Sang-hak of the Fighters for Free North Korea said his group launched 20 helium balloons carrying anti-Pyongyang material, including copies of the Hollywood film The Interview.
North Korea has recently retaliated against defector organizations, according to South Korean virus detection software company Hauri, Inc.
Yonhap reported the firm said hackers of North Korean origin have gained control of five websites belonging to defector organizations and North Korea research groups since July 8.
The hackers had used leaked technology from Italian firm Hacking Team in order to transmit malicious codes into South Korea's Internet.
South Korean television network KBS reported the malicious codes used were identical to those employed by North Korean hackers in previous cases.
Neglected areas of the Adobe Flash Player software were used to attack and take control of the South Korean websites. A Hauri spokesman said that through the most recent cyberattack North Korean hackers have gained a notch in their capabilities.