[Weekend Briefing] South Korean authorities cooperate to protect hospitals from ransomware attacks

By Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh, The Readable
June 3, 2022 11:12PM PDT

Hello! We are reporting from San Francisco and Silicon Valley for this week. While staying here for RSA conference 2022, we are delighted to deliver you five news, which were carefully selected by us. We will be back with RSA conference news in the coming week. Have a beautiful weekend!

1. South Korean Authorities Cooperate to Protect Hospitals From Ransomware Attacks

South Korean authorities are putting their heads together to protect national university hospitals from cyber threats such as ransomware. According to a statement released to the press on Friday, the Ministry of Education announced that they are cooperating with the National Intelligence Service to enhance intelligence security measures related to national university hospitals. Cyber attacks against hospitals could lead to life threatening situations not only because software-based medical devices are used in medical treatments but also because patient's medical records are managed online. To prevent future attacks, they are planning to reinforce information exchange between South Korea’s intelligence agency and the hospitals. A separate consultative group will also be formed to protect each hospital’s data.

2. National Assembly Strengthens the Law to Protect Victims of Smishing in South Korea

South Korea’s National Assembly has amended the Telecommunication Business Act to protect victims of smishing attacks from further damage. The new legislation allows the government to order telecommunication service providers to cut off the telecommunication numbers that have been attacked by smishing. Smishing is an attempt to collect personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers by sending malicious text messages. Offenders will face a penalty of up to three years in prison or 100 million won in fines under the new law. According to the National Assembly’s Bill Information, the revised law has been passed in the plenary session which was held on May 29. The new legal framework will take effect after deliberation from the Cabinet Council.

3. South Korea Gears Up to Protect Smart Factories From Cyber Attacks

The South Korean government launched a new cybersecurity program to protect smart factories in its nation. The Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) announced on Wednesday that the government began offering the "On-Site Security Living Lab" service to smart factories for the first time. Smart factories have become vulnerable to cyber attacks since the convergence between manufacturing systems and digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 5G telecommunications, took place. Last year, the MSIT and KISA built a living lab, which was specifically designed to test the levels of cybersecurity maturity at smart factories, and from this month, the lab will be offered on-site. The program includes cybersecurity tests and consultations. "Cyber attacks have constantly increased as digital transformation occurs, and smart factories should be ready to defend themselves against hacking," said Kim Jeong-Sam, the policy officer of information security and network.

4. Luna Classic Holders Get Luna 2.0 From Airdrop in South Korea

South Korean Luna classic cryptocurrency holders are receiving an airdrop of the new Luna 2.0 tokens. An airdrop is a marketing strategy to promote a new token by distributing the cryptocurrency to specific investors’ wallets usually for free. Korbit, one of the largest cryptocurrency trading platforms in South Korea, announced on June 3 that they are going to distribute 30% of the scheduled amount of Luna 2.0 to existing Luna shareholders. The other four largest cryptocurrency exchanges are also giving out the new Luna tokens. However, this doesn’t imply that South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are going to support trading of the Luna 2.0 token. Several cryptocurrencies specifically stated in online statements that airdrops don’t guarantee the trading service.

5. Crypto Prices Will Be Available on Mobile Banking App’s in South Korea

South Koreans will be able to check cryptocurrency prices in real-time through mobile banking applications. Bithumb, one of the largest South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, announced on Tuesday that they had adopted an associate contract with NH bank. According to the statement released on May 31, the two partners will develop a service that will enable NH banks’ mobile application users to manage not only debits and loans but also view cryptocurrency price quotes. This is the first attempt by both the bank and the cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea. They are expecting to launch this service in the second half of the year.


The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

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.