Seoul: South Korea will launch a cyber warfare command centre next week to fend off attacks on government and military IT networks from North Korea and other countries, officials said Friday.

The centre, led by a one-star general, will begin official duties Monday, the defence ministry said. Reports said it would be manned by some 200 computer specialists.

South Korea’s military computer networks are under increasing threat from cyber attacks.

Experts say South Korea — one of the world’s most wired societies — needs an integrated unit to fight cyber attacks by North Korea and China, which run elite hacker units.

In 2004 hackers based in China used information-stealing viruses to break into the computer systems of Seoul government agencies.