[Weekend Briefing] Free antivirus software froze PCs in South Korea

By Dain Oh and Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Sep. 2, 2022 8:15PM KST

Hello, this is Dain Oh and Kuksung Nam in South Korea. We have picked five news stories for your weekend. Have a good rest!

1. Free antivirus software froze PCs in South Korea

ALYac, a popular antivirus software in South Korea, created chaos due to its update errors on Tuesday. Its commercial version for public use is installed on 12 million PCs in the nation, according to the software company, ESTsecurity.

An antivirus software, ALYac, created chaos in South Korea on Tuesday. After updating its ransomware detection function, ALYac basically identified Microsoft Windows operating system as ransomware and blocked its users from running any programs on their devices. ALYac is an endpoint security software, developed by ESTsecurity, and its commercial version for public use is installed on 12 million PCs in the nation, according to the software company. Although ESTsecurity put up statements on their website which described how to recover the damaged PCs, a massive number of users reported that their PCs were frozen due to errors caused by ALYac and made complaints on Twitter and various online communities about the software malfunction wasting their time. Chung Sang-won, CEO of ESTsecurity, posted an apology statement on his Facebook page and promised to review the company's testing process before launching an update.

2. Man imprisoned for illegal video recording through home security cameras

A 28-year-old man, who hacked internet protocol camaras and recorded 7092 videos of unspecified women, was sentenced to 4 years in prison. According to several news reports by local media outlets, the Suwon District Court of South Korea imprisoned the man for sexual assault on Wednesday. From May 11, 2021, to February 2, 2022, the man infiltrated random home security cameras by using IP hacking software, recorded a total of 7092 videos of women, and sold some of the videos to a third party 8 times for profit. The man particularly recorded the exposed women’s naked bodies and scenes of them having sexual intercourse and then saved the videos in his storage. Indoor IP cameras are usually installed for home security and have attracted pet owners who want to monitor their pets remotely. “The victims are in large numbers and most of their recovery has not been done. A heavy penalty must be followed,” said the court.

3. South Korea uncovers 2 trillion won illegal transaction linked to crypto

South Korean authorities announced on Tuesday that they had uncovered illicit foreign exchange transactions linked to cryptocurrency worth two trillion won ($1.5 billion) as part of a vast investigation into illegal currency trades related to digital currency. Seoul Regional Customs said in a statement that they had caught 16 individuals who are accused of violating the country’s foreign exchange law. One individual created several shell companies and used them to make thousands of illegal remittances aboard, according to the SRC. The accused used the payments to buy cryptocurrencies in foreign based exchanges and sold the digital currency in the South Korean local exchanges, gaining profit from the price difference of cryptocurrency in accordance with the region. In addition, the customs office stated that another individual broke the law by engaging in an unregistered foreign exchange business.

4. South Korean government proposes 130 billion won cybersecurity budget

The Ministry of Science and ICT is seeking a budget of 130 billion won ($95.9 million) in cybersecurity for fiscal year 2023. This includes 16 billion won ($11.9 million) for spending related to broadening the nation’s cybersecurity workforce in order to defend against the rising tide of cyber threats. “The planned budget [for the cybersecurity workforce] is a 68% increase from the current year,” said an official of the MSIT. According to a press release, the MSIT on Wednesday proposed a total budget of 18.8 trillion won ($13.8 billion). This is the first budget for cybersecurity being planned under President Yoon Suk-yeol. President Yoon is the first president to attend the annual cybersecurity commemoration in person where he promised to foster cybersecurity into a strategic industry by educating 100,000 talented people.

5. Korea launches presidential committee of digital platform government

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced the establishment of the Presidential Committee of Digital Platform Government on Friday. The committee will lead a national strategy regarding the digital governance platform and is expected to improve the national system for the public services. Koh Jean, a former member of the Presidential Committee on the 4th industrial revolution, serves as the committee chairman. In addition, Yoon appointed 19 members from the private sector and invited several government officials to the committee. Through cooperation between the public and private sectors, the committee will operate under 6 divisions, including artificial intelligence and data, infrastructure, services, innovation of how the government works, industry ecosystems, and information security.


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.

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.