[Weekend Briefing] South Korean army captain accused of leaking military secrets to North Korean spies

By Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh, The Readable
May 27, 2022 10:27PM KST

We picked five stories for you. Have a great weekend!

1. South Korea and U.S. Agreed to Strengthen Cyber Deterrence Against North Korea

South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden held a summit meeting in Seoul last Saturday. In the joint statement after their first diplomatic engagement, the two leaders agreed to expand cooperation on regional and international security issues in cyberspace. In addition, the leaders announced that the two countries will tighten their alliance to confront cyber threats from North Korea. North Korean cyberattacks were not included in the latest joint statement issued on May 21, 2021.

2. South Korean Army Captain Accused of Leaking Military Secrets to North Korean Spies

A South Korean army captain faces accusations of allegedly passing military secrets to a North Korean spy agent. According to the indictment filed by the Ministry of National Defense on April 28, the South Korean military officer took pictures of classified military data with a smartphone and gave the images to a North Korean spy agent last February. The data contains second class confidential information related to operations conducted in both wartime and peacetime against North Korea. The indictment was released to the press by South Korean Congressman Gang Dae-sik on May 26. The indictment also stated that the officer was working as a member of a special operation force specifically focused on North Korea. In return, the officer was paid about 48 million won worth of bitcoin tokens.

3. Luna Suspended From Top Five Crypto Exchanges in South Korea

Korbit and Coinone announced Wednesday that they will suspend trading support for the cryptocurrency Luna on June 3 and June 1, respectively. Korbit and Coinone are two of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. Withdrawals of the Luna token will also be suspended in both cryptocurrency exchanges. After the Luna crypto crash, South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges suspended Luna one after another. As Korbit and Coinone join this group, Luna's trading will be terminated in all of the five largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. According to the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit, as of May 18, South Korean users hold 809 billion Luna tokens, worth 339 billion won.

4. Public Institutions in South Korea Fined 40 Million Won for Privacy Violations

The Personal Information Protection Commission of South Korea fined eight public institutions for privacy violations on Wednesday. In total, the commission imposed 40.5 million won in fines on the institutions for negligence. Three universities and the city hall of Ulsan were among the institutions fined. Kaywon University of Art and Design was hacked through web shell and Structed Query Language (SQL) injection, which resulted in personal information leaks. The South Korean government has been raising the standards for privacy protection for the last several years. The commission conducts security audits related to the public sector on a regular basis, where the personal information of citizens has piled up.

5. South Korean Cybersecurity Company Joins the No More Ransom Initiative

A South Korean cybersecurity company has gone global to deal with a growing number of ransomware assaults. SK shieldus, one of the largest cybersecurity companies in South Korea, announced on Tuesday that they joined the global No More Ransom (NMR) initiative. Launched in 2016, the NMR has currently more than 180 partners across the world. Not only do the partners share up-to-date ransomware information but they also offer free decryption tools to ransomware victims. According to the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), ransomware attacks are on the rise in South Korea. There were 246 instances of damage caused by ransomware reported to KISA between March 2021 and February 2022. Compared to the same period the previous year, this number has increased by 71%.


The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

Kuksung Nam is a cybersecurity journalist for The Readable. She covers cybersecurity issues in South Korea, including the public and private sectors. Prior to joining The Readable, she worked as a political reporter for one of the top-five local newspapers in South Korea, The Kyeongin Ilbo, where she reported several exclusive stories regarding the misconduct of local government officials. She is currently focused on issues related to anti-fraud, as well as threats and crimes in cyberspace. She is a Korean native who is fluent in English and French, and she is interested in delivering the news to a global audience.

Dain Oh is an award-winning cybersecurity journalist based in South Korea and the founding editor-in-chief of The Readable by S2W. Before joining S2W, she worked as a reporter for The Electronic Times, the top IT newspaper in Korea, covering the cybersecurity industry on an in-depth level. She reported numerous exclusive stories, and her work related to the National Intelligence Service led to her being honored with the Journalist of the Year Award in 2021 by the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology in a unanimous decision. She was also the first journalist to report on the hacking of vulnerable wallpads in South Korean apartments, which later became a nation-wide issue.