North Korea denies cyberattacks, calls U.S. 'hacking empire'

By Elizabeth Shim  |  March 20, 2017 at 8:50 AM
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March 20 (UPI) -- North Korea media slammed the United States for allegations Pyongyang may be behind a wave of cyberattacks against international banks and other institutions.

Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA said the United States has reached new "despicable heights," although the suggestion North Korea may be behind bank breaches came from private U.S. firm Symantec.

"Cyberspace is one of the many strategies of U.S. hegemony, along with the nuclear stick and the U.S. dollar, to launch a pre-emptive strike" against North Korea, the statement from KCNA read.

North Korea also denounced the CIA for its alleged monitoring of people through computers and computer-controlled appliances – a claim that is gaining support after WikiLeaks published a large cache of private data on March 7.

The United States is a "hacking empire, the worst of bullying countries," Pyongyang said in response to the news.

"For a long time the United States has been a major force in cyber wars, which has been deployed since a long time ago," KCNA stated.

U.S.-backed hackers have for "many years launched massive attacks against [North Korea] label us as a hacking state is truly an act that reaches new despicable heights."

In 2014 the United States held North Korea responsible for the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which produced The Interview, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that focused on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A U.S. official later said an Internet blackout North Korea experienced in December 2014 was a retaliatory strike for the Sony data breach.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, never identified the agency responsible for the retaliation, and refrained from holding the U.S. government responsible for the outage of North Korea's Internet in 2014.

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