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S.Korea sounds alert after official websites hacked

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The N Seoul Tower is seen on the top of Nam mountain, on February 22, 2010. South Korea issued a cyber attack alert on Tuesday after hackers apparently penetrated a number of official websites, including the presidential Blue House, according to the science ministry. (AFP/File)

South Korea issued a cyber attack alert on Tuesday after hackers apparently penetrated a number of official websites, including the presidential Blue House, the science ministry said.

"The government can confirm a cyber attack by unidentified hackers that shut down several sites including the Blue House," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the five-stage national cyber alert had been raised from level one to two.

A number of news media websites and several government agencies, including the office for Government Policy Coordination were also affected by what seemed to be a coordinated attack beginning at 10:45 am (0145 GMT).

The ministry statement did not speculate on who might be responsible. Investigations into several recent large-scale cyber assaults on South Korean media groups and financial institutions concluded that they originated in North Korea.

A number of posts left on the hacked sites claimed to be the work of the global "hacktivist" group Anonymous and included messages praising North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

Anonymous denied any involvement on its official Twitter account, but said it had succeeded in hacking a number of North Korean media websites on Tuesday, including the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and the ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.