Hacking attempts targeting South Korean military triple over five years

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Sep. 28, 2022 8:26PM KST

South Korean military detected 42,847 cases of attempted hacking on its computer network from 2017 to 2021. More than eleven thousand hacking attempts were conducted last year trying to break into the military’s computer network, which is almost three times more than five years ago.

According to a press release on Tuesday by Lim Byung-heon, a member of the South Korean National Assembly’s defense committee, who received the data from South Korea Cyber Command, websites were the number one target for the attackers who tried to gain access to the South Korean military’s computer system.

The report said that nine out of ten attempts were conducted to break into websites which use the military’s internal network. This includes scanning for vulnerabilities as well as attempts to collect information about the network, attempts to remotely control the network, and attempts to gain access to administrator privileges.

Unidentified attackers also used methods such as sending compromising emails and deploying malicious codes. According to the report, the number of hacking attempts through malicious codes peaked in 2019 to 89 cases and then dropped over three years. 5 cases were detected by the South Korean military from January to July of this year. 121 cases of hacking attempts carried out by compromising emails were discovered in 2017. This number decreased to 17 in 2022.

In addition, the report stressed that hacking attempts were carried out largely by users with Chinese IP addresses over the years. However, this year, South Korean IP addresses were used the most to carry out the cyberattacks.

South Korea Cyber Command stated in the report that the military did not suffer any harm or damage due to the hacking attempts.

“In the worst case, hacking against the military information system could not only lead to the leakage of classified military documents but also could be devastating to our future military strategy,” said Lim. “North Korean cyberattacks, which use IP addresses of multiple nations, seem to be on the rise. Their attack capabilities are improving each year. We should enhance our cyber defense capabilities thoroughly.”


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.