The South Korean Ministry for Defence has announced it will launch a cyber warfare command centre next week to help defend against attacks on government and military IT networks.

The centre, will be led by a one-star general, will begin official duties on Monday and will be manned by around 200 computer specialists.

The South Korean military is currently investigating a cyber attack in which North Korean hackers are suspected of stealing secret defence plans revealing US and South Korean strategy in the event of war on the Korean peninsula.

The highly sensitive information, codenamed Oplan 5027, may have been distributed externally after it was found that a South Korean officer used an unsecured USB memory stick to download it.

The data allegedly contained a summary of military operations involving South Korean and US troops that would be undertaken if the North were to conduct a pre-emptive strike or attempt to invade its neighbour.