- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Plans to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other sensitive military documents have been compromised as the result of a recent data breach, a member of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party said Tuesday.

About 235 gigabytes of data was stolen from a South Korean Ministry of National Defense computer network in September 2016, including wartime contingency plans drafted by the U.S. and South Korea as Kim’s regime continues to threaten military action against either nation and their allies, Rep. Rhee Cheol-hee said.

North Korean hackers are suspected of being behind the data breach, Mr. Rhee said.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul declined to comment on his claim, citing security concerns, the Korea Herald reported. North Korea has denied responsibility, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday.

The defense ministry has only identified the contents of about 20 percent of the compromised material, Mr. Rhee said, but has already determined that the perpetrator or perpetrators behind the breach pilfered at least 295 classified documents, including 226 designated as “secret,” 42 as “confidential” and 27 for “official use only,” the Korea Herald reported.

Among the stolen classified documents were details concerning Operational Plan 5015, a wartime operational scheme drafted by Seoul and Washington allegedly involving decapitating North Korean leadership, Kim included, Mr. Rhee said, according to multiple news reports.

“I can’t reveal further details because they are a military secret,” Mr. Rhee said, The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry first acknowledged the breach in April, but said at the time that only a small number of sensitive information had been exposed, Chosun Ilbo previously reported.

North Korean hackers have been accused of conducting a handful of high-profile cyberattack during the last several years, notwithstanding the hermit kingdom being largely isolated from the rest of the world. The U.S. has blamed North Korea with hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2014, and South Korea accused North Korean hackers last year of infiltrating more than 140,000 computers inside various companies and government agencies.

“There is a high possibility that the North aimed to cause confusion on a national scale by launching a simultaneous attack after securing many targets of cyber terror, or intended to continuously steal industrial and military secrets,” South Korean authorities concluded at the time.

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