[Weekend Briefing] Korean government’s cloud computing policy draws sharp criticism from lawmakers

By Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh, The Readable
Oct. 7, 2022 9:32PM KST

Hello, this is Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh in South Korea. The Readable has picked four news stories for you. Have a great weekend!

1. Korean government’s cloud computing policy draws sharp criticism from lawmakers

South Korean lawmakers denounced the government’s new cloud computing cybersecurity certificate on Tuesday at the parliamentary audit, saying that the change will inevitably lead to the market dominance of global tech firms such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Oracle. In August, the South Korean Science Ministry announced that the government will implement new standards regarding the cloud computing cybersecurity certificate. According to a press release, the ministry stated that they are planning to break the certificate into three layers in accordance with the sensitivity of the information that the cloud computing system deals with.

The South Korean lawmakers strongly claimed that this change would lift the bar for foreign companies seeking to enter the public cloud computing market, which could eventually lead to reigning in the market dominance of global tech giants. “82% of the private cloud computing market [in South Korea] has been dominated by global companies,” said Yoon Young-chan, a member of the National Assembly, to the Minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT. “If our local [cloud computing] industry fails to broaden their share of the public market, there is a concern that we will literally lose all our sovereignty over information security.” The Ministry responded that they would look into the matter in detail.

2. South Korean lawmaker slams government over smart home hacking countermeasures

A South Korean lawmaker strongly criticized the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday at the parliamentary audit, saying that the government’s press release related to the countermeasures to smart home hacks includes indisputable fake information.

In June, the Ministry looked into the security management of smart home devices in twenty apartment complexes across the country. This investigation was launched as a countermeasure to the smart home hacking incident which shocked the country last year. In the following month, the Ministry announced the result of the investigation and stated that they found all home network devices met the technical standard because they had obtained the certificate in accordance with the government’s regulation.

However, Kim Jung-ho, a member of the National Assembly, claimed that this certification assures the product’s safety, such as its suitability to electromagnetic waves, but does not guarantee the technical standards of the devices. “[The Ministry] stated in the press release that the certification [of the smart home devices that were under the investigation] matches the technical standards. This is undeniably fake news,” said Kim.

The Ministry responded that they would wait for the authoritative interpretation of the Ministry of Government Legislation since the lawmaker and the government have a difference in their understanding of the regulations.

3. On the scene: Korea Cloud and Data Center Convention 2022

Security is essential to data center operations. Along with physical security, digital security of a data center remains a huge challenge for operators. As a cybersecurity news outlet, The Readable was invited to attend the Korea Cloud and Data Center Convention, which was held in Seoul on Thursday, to share in the conversation.

The Cloud and Data Center Convention is a yearly event which takes place in Asia-Pacific regions, including Australia and the Middle East. W.Media, a technology publishing company which built a community hub in the area, hosts the convention in each country while inviting key personnel from within the data center industry.

Photo by Dain Oh, The Readable

In this year’s event in Korea, more than 600 stakeholders in data center infrastructure participated in person. Executives, consultants, and engineers from information technology and network businesses on both global and local levels gathered at the Fairmont Ambassador Hotel in South Korea to learn about the latest trends in data centers.

“South Korea is first and foremost emerging in its stride toward data center innovation and colocation infrastructure, with Seoul as the country's biggest leader,” said Byron Cristol, Head of Northeast Asia Markets at W.Media, in a welcoming address. “The South Korea data center market size will witness investments of $5.25 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 7.72% between 2021 and 2026.”

Among the keynote speakers of the convention, Song Joon-hwa, Director of the Korea Data Center Energy Efficiency Association, Khym Jay-weon, Country Manager of Digital Realty Korea, Kim Woong-kyung, Vice District Chair of BICSI Korea, and Kim Do-hyeong, CISO of Funble, were included.

4. South Korean lawmaker criticizes trade department over cybersecurity

A South Korean lawmaker sharply criticized the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and its affiliated public institutions for a lack of cybersecurity awareness. “Although the cybersecurity posture of the affiliated public institutions turns out to be alarming every year, the department and its institutions do not make the effort to improve,” said Eom Tae-young, a member of the National Assembly of South Korea, in a press release.

Eom disclosed the number of security vulnerabilities that were detected in an annual information security inspection of the Ministry’s public institutions, which was held in 2020 and 2021 individually. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy inspects its affiliated institutions every year under the national information security guidelines of the National Intelligence Service. In 2020, 40 public institutions were under inspection and 705 security flaws were detected. In 2021, 738 security flaws were pointed out within 39 public institutions. To read the original reporting, click here.


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.