S. Korea, U.S. hold working-level talks on cybersecurity

South Korea and the United States on Friday held their first working-level talks on cybersecurity to discuss ways to develop joint cyberwarfare capabilities and an emergency response system, South Korea's Defense Ministry said.

The meeting was called after the defense ministries of the two nations last year agreed to launch the Cyber Cooperation Working Group in light of a series of large-scale hack attacks into South Korean networks, believed to have been masterminded by North Korea.

According to ministry spokesman Wi Yong Seop, the policy director of the South Korean Defense Ministry Jang Hyuk and his American counterpart John Davis also discussed training programs and improved cooperation on information exchange.

On Thursday, military and cybersecurity officials from both nations held a tabletop exercise to test their response to a cyber attack, identifying vulnerabilities in their emergency response systems and discussing countermeasures, Wi said.

South Korea launched the Cyber Command team -- a special unit with 400 staff -- in early 2010 to guard against hacking attacks from the North.

North Korea is meanwhile running a cyberwarfare unit composed of 3,000 hackers who are trained to break into networks and spread viruses, Yonhap News Agency reported.