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Defense ministry finds hacking attempts against its reporters

Unidentified hackers, suspected to be based in China, have been caught trying to steal data from media reporters covering South Korea's Ministry of National Defense, ministry officials said Friday.

"We've confirmed that a handful of reporters covering the ministry have received an e-mail which carries the malicious code this week," a ministry official said, explaining that once the email is opened, it automatically imbeds the virus code into the computer.

"The code embedded into the computer is meant to steal information in the receiver's computer automatically. A notebook by one of the reporters was infected with the virus," he said, noting that it is "yet to be known if any leakage took place."

While investigation into the incident is under way, ministry officials said retracing the IP of the code revealed that the hacker, or hackers, had used a server from Liaoning, China, referring to an Internet Protocol address, the online equivalent of a street address or a phone number.

Notebooks used by reporters are connected to the defense ministry's Internet network, they said.

Asked about chances of North Korea being involved in the hacking attempt, one ministry official declined to comment, simply saying the ministry "does not rule out anything."

The last similar incident took place in March, when the defense ministry foiled a hacking attempt by an unidentified organization.

No data was lost in the incident, the ministry officials said. (Yonhap)

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