North Korea hacked US-South Korean war plans to wipe out leadership – lawmaker
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North Korea hacked US-South Korean war plans to wipe out leadership – lawmaker

North Korean hackers have stolen hundreds of classified military documents from South Korea, including a joint US-South Korean plan detailing how to eliminate the Pyongyang leadership in the event of war, in a breach that happened last year, a South Korean ruling party lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Democratic Party representative Rhee Cheol-hee said in radio appearances on Wednesday 235GB of military documents were taken from the Defense Integrated Data Center last September, citing information from unnamed South Korean defence officials.

Among the leaked documents was Operational Plans 5015, for use in case of war with the North and including procedures for “decapitation” attacks on leader Kim Jong Un, the local paper The Chosun Ilbo quoted Rhee as saying.

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The plans were aimed at winning a war at an early stage and minimising damage to South Korea by carrying out pinpoint operations against top North Korean leaders. “I can’t reveal further details because they are a military secret,” Rhee said.

This May, an investigative team inside the Defence Ministry announced the hack had been carried out by North Korea, but did not disclosed what kind of information had been taken.

Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the cyberattacks in its state media, criticising Seoul for “fabricating” claims about online attacks.

Rhee, currently a member of the National Assembly’s committee for national defence, said about 80 percent of the hacked data has not yet been identified, but that none of the information was expected to have compromised the South Korean military as it was not top classified intelligence.

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A US Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, prepare for take-off to fly a bilateral mission with Japanese and South Korea Air Force jets in the vicinity of the Sea of Japan, from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on Oct 10, 2017. Source: Joshua Smoot/US Air Force/Handout via Reuters

The report comes amid heightened tensions between Pyongyang and the US, and fears of conflict on the Korean peninsula grow.

US President Donald Trump has been fuelling the fire with continued threats of military action against the North Korean leadership in a bid to curb its weapons and nuclear programme.

In his latest tweet on the standoff, Trump pointed out once again the failed efforts of past administrations in their handling of the North Korean crisis, implying military action was the only route of action.

In Washington, the Pentagon said it was aware of the reports of the potential data breach but would not comment on subject.

“Although I will not comment on intelligence matters or specific incidents related to cyber intrusion, I can assure you that we are confident in the security of our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters.

Additional reporting by Reuters