Amid growing war threats from North Korea, South Korea plans to beef up its surveillance system against the North's provocative electronic jamming signals that have targeted civilian facilities in the past, sources said Wednesday.
In addition to cyber attacks on South Korean networks, the North has been disrupting global positioning system (GPS) signals since 2010. GPS is a satellite-based navigation system widely used by planes, ships and vehicles.
The latest attempt between April 28 and May 13 last year, which Pyongyang has officially denied, affected hundreds of South Korean commercial ships and flights in the border area.
The Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning has plans to set up a GPS surveillance system that can track down the attack point and impact of GPS jamming attempts, according to the sources.
South Korea currently operates a radio wave control system for domestic operators, which has raised the need to set up a comprehensive system to detect GPS irregularities.
Under the plan, the ministry plans to pass on the technology developed by the state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) to a selected civilian firm that will establish the surveillance system.
"The government aims to open a public bid in mid-April with an aim to set up the system by November or December this year," said an official.
"Efforts to develop a system that can defend GPS jamming are also under way," the official added, without stating a detailed schedule for the plan.
The move is part of government-wide efforts to effectively deal with technological attacks by Pyongyang. Following last year's GPS jamming attacks, the government has moved to establish a cooperative system among ministries.
"The GPS jamming surveillance system is part of a wider plan that was established earlier," another official said, claiming the plan is not an improvisation amid heightening tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang has been recently been ratcheting up threats against South Korea, claiming it will turn Seoul and Washington into a "sea of fire" and launch pre-emptive nuclear attacks against its enemies.
The communist country, which has been accused of hacking attacks on South Korean networks, is believed to operate a cyber warfare unit of 3,000 elite hackers who are trained to break into computer networks to steal information and spread malware.