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North Korea-linked hackers accessed South's atomic energy institute, Seoul says

North Korea-linked cybercriminals breached South Korean entities, South Korean lawmakers said Thursday after a briefing from the National Intelligence Service. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
North Korea-linked cybercriminals breached South Korean entities, South Korean lawmakers said Thursday after a briefing from the National Intelligence Service. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- North Korea-affiliated hackers infiltrated the South's Atomic Energy Research Institute and data was breached for 12 days, Seoul's spy agency said.

South Korean lawmakers who met with local reporters Thursday after a briefing said that the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute was the target of Pyongyang-backed cybercriminals, but the "most sensitive information" was not accessed during the attack, KBS reported.

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The National Intelligence Service also told the South's National Assembly Intelligence Committee that it warned the institute about possible breaches and urged the organization to take extra precautions, including changes of passwords. The institute allegedly did not comply with the requests, the NIS said, according to lawmaker Rep. Ha Tae-kyung of the main opposition People Power Party.

Local reports did not specify when the hacking took place.

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Korea Aerospace Industries, a joint venture of Samsung Aerospace, Daewoo Heavy Industries' aerospace division, and Hyundai Space and Aircraft Company, is under investigation after a suspected hacking, according to JoongAng Ilbo.

The attack occurred around June 7, Ha said.

Seoul's spy agency also briefed lawmakers on changes in North Korean society.

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South Korean lawmakers said after the briefing that North Korean authorities are "cracking down" on the use of South Korean slang in everyday speech, Korea Economic Daily TV reported Thursday.

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The use of popular South Korean phrases, likely transmitted to the isolated population via pirated South Korean videos, has been decried as counter-revolutionary in the North, Rep. Kim Byeong-ki of the ruling Democratic Party and Ha said.

South Korean-style attire is frowned upon and banned. Displaying affection in public also is considered an act of social deviance and discouraged for couples, lawmakers said.

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Kim Jong Un said in April the hair, speech and clothing preferences of North Korean youth must come under state control.

In June, Kim called K-pop a "vicious cancer" on North Korean society.

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