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Representational Image: South Korea's spy agency on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, accused North Korea of hacking into smartphones of several officials.Reuters File

South Korea's intelligence agency Tuesday accused North Korea of hacking into the smartphones of several government officials in Seoul and stealing information. North Korean hackers were also reportedly preparing to attack South Korea's banking network. 

In the latest hack, North Korean hackers allegedly stole content from phone conversations and text messages of South Korean officials, the National Intelligence Service said, according to Yonhap news. The phones were allegedly hacked into last month and early this month.

The hackers also attempted to lure the officials into clicking on links of malicious software, the agency said. However, it is not clear from the report how many phones were affected in the cyberattack. 

In a second attack, North Korean hackers also targeted the server of a software firm that provides security software for Internet banking, in preparation for launching a cyberattack on the country's banking system, according to AFP.

"If left unchecked, it would have resulted in major financial chaos, such as paralysis of Internet banking systems and unwanted transfers of deposits," the South Korean spy agency said. 

This comes as the latest accusation of cyberattacks against the Kim Jong-un regime.  In 2014, the United States had accused North Korea of cyberattacks on Hollywood studio Sony Pictures ahead of the release of their movie caricaturing Kim. South Korea had earlier also accused the North of launching a cyberattack on its banks and broadcasters. 

Tensions between North and South Korea have escalated in recent months, with the Kim Jong-un regime conducting a nuclear test and a missile launch that brought on sanctions from the United Nations. 

South Korea is currently carrying out a joint military exercise with ally United States, which North Korea has warned against, even threatening a nuclear strike. 

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