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South Korea Blames North for Cyber Attack on Bank

Customers use ATM machines at a Nonghyup bank in Seoul, South Korea, May 3, 2011

South Korean prosecutors are blaming North Korean hackers for a cyber attack that prevented customers at one the South's largest banks from accessing their money and accounts for three days last month.

The April 12 attack paralyzed operations at the agricultural cooperative known as Nonghyup, in what is described as the worst-ever attack on a South Korean banking network. Prosecutors said Tuesday they have identified key similarities to previous attacks on government and business sites in 2009 and in March of this year that also were blamed on North Korea.

The prosecutors said the hackers managed to take over the laptop computer of a subcontractor working for the bank and turn it into a "zombie," enabling them to remotely direct it to sabotage the bank's systems.

The Yonhap news agency quoted the officials describing the attack as a new kind of terrorism aimed at destroying the financial foundation of South Korea's capitalist society.