South Korea creates cyber-security post to counter North's threat

SEOUL (AFP) - Concerned by the growing threat of cyber-attacks from North Korea, South Korea's cabinet on Tuesday approved the creation of a new presidential post handling cyber-security.

The post will provide a "control tower" for efforts to counter North Korean hackers, presidential spokesman Min Kyung-Wook told reporters.

President Park Geun-Hye is expected to nominate someone for the new position in the near future.

South Korea, one of the world's most wired nations, has strengthened Internet security since it set up a special cyber-command in 2010, amid growing concern over its vulnerability.

Seoul has blamed North Korean hackers for a series of cyber-attacks on military institutions, banks, government agencies, TV broadcasters and media websites in recent years.

The United States also blamed the North for a cyber-attack on Sony over its controversial North Korea-themed satirical film "The Interview" last year.

Pyongyang denied involvement in the Sony hack but strongly condemned the film, which features a fictional plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong-Un.

More recently, Seoul accused Pyongyang of seeking to throw South Korea into "social chaos" with cyber-attacks last December on South Korea's nuclear power plant operator.

Pyongyang again denied any involvement and accused Seoul of fabricating the incident to shift the blame for cross-border tensions.

South Korea's defence ministry believes North Korea runs an elite cyber-warfare unit with up to 6,000 personnel, and regards its ability to launch hacking attacks as a major security threat.