By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Oct. 11, 2023 7:15PM GMT+9
Seoul ― KACS 2023 Fall Conference ― Countries will continue to intensify their efforts to form blocs with like-minded nations to defend themselves against adversaries in cyberspace, according to a military and security expert on Wednesday.
Song Tae-eun, an assistant professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, spoke on the complexities of cyberspace during a symposium hosted by the Korean Association of Cybersecurity Studies (KACS). In a session titled “Cyber diplomacy, warfare, and peace,” Song explained that cyberspace is the most difficult domain for nations to build trust within due to the anonymity upon which it is based. Countries conduct intelligence campaigns unilaterally, collecting intelligence even from their allies. At the same time, nations must drop their guard with one another to an extent to defend themselves from malicious non-state actors, such as terrorists and hackers, who act independently of national loyalties or allegiances.
Although the complexity remains, the assistant professor pointed out that countries will continue to focus on countering cyber threats by concentrating on diplomatic measures with allied nations. Song described the U.S. approach to combating ransomware attacks, called the International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI). Formed in 2021, the CRI hosted its second summit last year with the aim of building a collective response plan to thwart ransomware attacks. The European Union along with 36 other countries participated in the event as member states. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea were not included in the initiative.
Song emphasized that Russia failed to live up to the international agreements on cybersecurity that they themselves had introduced, such as the United Nations Group of Government Experts (UN GGE) and the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG). She added that most of the profit garnered from illicit ransomware activities flows to Russia. According to a 2022 report from Chainalysis, approximately 74% of the revenue generated by ransomware in 2021 was closely associated with Russia.
“Regarding defense, nations will evolve their cyber diplomacy policies around the formation of blocs,” said Song. “This will include conducting simulation military training and mock and shame exercises against authoritarian nations.” Song further commented to The Readable that the tendency to make partner states applies equally to the other side, as Russia, China, and North Korea will also seek to form blocs, likewise for mutual defense against cyber threats.
This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.
Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.