North Korea is often seen as a poor country, cut off from the world and lacking in new technology. But officials in South Korea have linked North Korea to recent attacks on computers. And they are describing the North's ability to harm computer system as world class.
South Korea's spy agency made the claims at a meeting with a committee of the South Korean National Assembly. The National Intelligence Service said North Korea has trained what officials are calling a "cyber army".
The NIS described seven North Korean hacking organizations and spy networks operating in China and Japan.
Hackers seek out and can affect the electronic communications and records of individuals, business and even governments. Seo Sand-ki is a South Korean lawmaker and chairman of the assembly's intelligence committee.
He says North Korea established its hacking center in China because it has highly developed internet services and the North's activities can be protected there. He says about 1,700 North Korean hackers, and 4,200 supporting agents operate in China.
In late 2013, south Korea's KBS Tv reported an attack on a business systems for the South Korean government. Kim Hung-kwand is president of a group called North Korean Inteleectuals Solidarity.
Kim Hung-kwang is president of the group North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity. He says China knows that North Korean hackers launch attacks from inside China.
He notes that China has never arrested or expelled any North Koreans. He says that is why it appears North Korea carries out the attacks with China's approval.
For VOA Learning English, I'm Laurel Bowman.