North Korean hackers are suspected of stealing top-secret military documents detailing U.S.-South Korean plans for a potential conflict with Pyongyang.
According to South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, the cache of documents were accessed between August and September of last year after the intranet of South Korea’s Defense Ministry was compromised.
Although South Korean authorities initially claimed no sensitive data was stolen, Defense Ministry data obtained through a freedom-of-information (FOI) request by Minjoo Party lawmaker Rhee Cheol-hee revealed 235 GB of content was pilfered. Rhee says only 53 GB worth, roughly 10,700 documents, were mentioned in the FOI response.
“The Ministry of National Defense has yet to find out about the content of 182 gigabytes of the total (stolen) data,” Rhee said in a statement.
Among the more secret files include those concerning “OPLAN 5015,” the U.S. and South Korea’s military strategy for a full-scale war on the Korean Peninsula.
“These plans are aimed at winning a war at an early stage by minimizing damage to South Korea and carrying out pinpoint decapitation operations against top North Korean leaders,” The Chosun Ilbo’s Pak Soo-chan writes.
Other documents surrounding military instillations, power plants and details on Washington and Seoul’s military drills and personnel, were also seized by the hackers.
North Korea has denied any involvement in the breach, accusing South Korea of “fabricating” the claims.
Pyongyang’s hackers continue to make headlines as increasingly brazen hacks are attributed to the government of North Korea.
Last month U.S.-based cybersecurity firm FireEye accused North Korea of stealing bitcoin from South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges in an attempt to offset U.N. sanctions.
The communist state was also believed to be behind the poorly-executed WannaCry ransomware outbreak that affected computers in dozens of countries across the globe last May.
That same month suspected North Korean hackers also began targeting U.N. experts investigating potential sanctions violations by Pyongyang.