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Anonymous targets North Korean social media channels

Secretive state falls victim to hackers protesting its threats of nuclear war

Hacking group Anonymous claims to have taken control of the social media accounts of Uriminzokkiri, the online face of North Korea's state news agency.

Calling themselves AnonKorea, the hacktivists have taken over Uriminzokkiri's Twitter and Flickr accounts, as well as forcing the organisation's website offline.

The group used the hijacked Twitter account to lay claim to hacking other North Korean websites ryugyongclip.com, ryomyong.com, aindf.com and ournation-school.com.

All of the allegedly hacked websites were offline when IT Pro tried to access them.

The hackers also claim to have stolen 15,000 usernames and passwords from Uriminzokkiri and pasted a sample online.

The attacks come as part of "Operation Free Korea", which commenced with a series of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks over the weekend against the country's official website and the state-owned airline Air Koryo.

Anonymous says it will end its cyber attacks if the North Korean government stops "making nukes and nuke-threats".

North Korea has recently raised the stakes in an increasingly tense relationship between it, its southern neighbour South Korea and the USA, promising to restart a mothballed nuclear complex and threatening to launch a missile against America.

Anonymous has also demanded North Korea's dynastic dictator Kim Jong Un resigns, making way for a "free direct democracy" and urged the people of North Korea to "rise up and bring ... [this] oppressive government down!"

"We are holding your back and your hand, while you take the journey to freedom, democracy and peace. You are not alone," the group said.

North Korea is not the first nation to be targeted by Anonymous. In 2012, the loose hacking collective targeted Syria, Israel, Uganda and the UK, as well as a number of non-national targets.

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