North Korea has nearly doubled the number of elite hackers over the past two years in an effort to step up cyber-attacks, military sources said Sunday.
"North Korea appears to have some 5,900 personnel for cyberwar fare, up from around 3,000 two years ago," a military source said.
"The communist country operates a hacking unit under its General Bureau of Reconnaissance, which is home to some 1,200 professional hackers," he said, noting that they have been carrying out cyber-attacks by establishing overseas bases in countries such as China.
Experts say the communist country has been trying to boost its cyberwar fare capabilities as part of its unconventional arsenal, according to South Korea's news agency (Yonhap).
North Korea has fostered some 100 cyber warriors per year through training at Mirim University, founded in 1986 upon the instruction of its former leader, Kim Jong-il, and Moranbong University, which was set up in 1990, has been in charge of training professional hackers.
North Korea's cyber attacks have often targeted the websites of South Korean government offices, as well as local banks and media outlets. In response, the south launched the Cyber Command, which has some 400 personnel, to guard against such aggressions online, Yonhap said.