Hacking attempts against South Korean government record 560K

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Sep. 15, 2022 8:45PM KST

While the official YouTube channel of the South Korean government was hacked early this month, a statistic was released to the public, showing that more than half a million hacking attempts were carried out against South Korean government agencies over the past six years.

According to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the South Korean government has received 558,674 hacking attempts from January 2017 to July of this year. This number includes 66,475 hacking attempts which occurred during the first seven months of this year.

In 2017, a total of 62,532 hacking attempts were detected. The volume of threats jumped in 2018 and 2019, which recorded 94,980 and 124,754 respectively. In 2020 and 2021, the volume remained above 100,000 for both years, which showed 108,810 and 101,123 individually. Throughout the entire period, attempts to steal information from the government was the number one goal among the various reasons for hacking, recording 228,950 (41%) attempts.

Hacking attempts again South Korean government agencies from January 2017 to July of this year. Source: The Ministry of the Interior and Safety

Furthermore, China and the United States turned out to be the top two countries from which the highest volume of hacking attempts against the South Korean government were carried out. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety investigated IP addresses of detected hacking attempts and found that hacking attempts from China consisted of 22.89% of the entire attempts, which was recorded 127,908 times. The United States came second, comprising 20.24% with 113,086 attempts. Combined, attacks from China and the United States take up more than 43% of the entire threat volume.

The statistic was released in an effort to examine the status quo of the nation’s cybersecurity posture. In advance of an upcoming audit of state affairs which is scheduled to open from October 4, Rep. Lee Hae-sik of the main opposition Democratic Party asked the Ministry of Public Administration to submit a report about hacking attempts against the South Korean government over the past five years.


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

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.