[HDF 2022] South Korea and EU to build safer cyberspace

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Dec. 16, 2022 7:42PM KST

Leaders and experts from South Korea and European Union convened on Wednesday in an event, hosted by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, to discuss ways to strengthen their cooperation in cyberspace. Security was not the first issue that both countries had in mind fifteen years ago. However, as the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Korea stressed in the keynote speech at the Hongneung Defense Forum, cyber has become “very important.” The Ambassador also stated that the forum could be a steppingstone to secure security cooperation between the two parties.

The Readable has highlighted some of the important statements by the presenters and discussants on the cybersecurity landscape and the efforts both parties should take to build a safe cyberspace.

[KIDA] Kim Yoon-tae, the President of Korea Institute for Defense Analysis

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“Cyberattacks have become an imminent threat that needs collective defensive efforts from the international community. From deploying phishing attacks against security officials to conducting ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure, cyber threats are evolving their shapes and targets. In a hyperconnected world, cyber threats could create a crisis that we have never seen before.”

[EU] Maria Castillo Fernandez, the Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of Korea

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“Cyber is very important in the Indo-Pacific strategy. There is a lot on cybersecurity, such as cyber resilience and cybercrime. By speaking to an audience in South Korea, I don’t need to explain what the cyber threat is from DPRK. But we have that also from other countries, so it is a global threat. It also happens to European citizens. So, we need to find ways to work together on cyber.”

[ESIWA Project] Cormac Callanan, the cyber security coordinator of Enhancing Security Cooperation In and With Asia Project

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“This slide comes from Europol, and it talks about the fact that if we look at current challenges today, a bad guy from Ireland with an Asian name can target the French market selling Japanese equipment that can be paid for using Russian payment services using a Latvian middleman while using Swedish credentials for the registration of his domain with a Brazilian company, hosting the page in Thailand and refer to it from Iceland while communicating through an Indonesian mail server.”

[INSS] Oh Il-seok, research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“South Korea and the European Union are in a similar situation. We are closely intertwined with the U.S. in security, and we have an intimate economic relationship with China. [Given the circumstance surrounding the U.S. and Russia and China] South Korean and the EU should take a leading role in creating an autonomous area in cyber space. For example, both parties could strengthen their technological cooperation. For example, both parties could strengthen their cooperation in technology, and foster joint cyber military exercises.”

[The Azure Forum] Caitríona Heinl, executive director in the Azure Forum for Contemporary Security Strategy

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“There is a space to enhance the EU and Republic of Korea in exchanging information on the implementation of cyber confidence building measures. A second very short example is encouraging cooperation at the national level. There actually hasn’t been more work at the national level, which is hindering deeper cooperation and collaboration between parties. The third very practical aspect is a tabletop exercise or scenario based exercises.”

[GSI] Son Young-dong, the President of Global Strategy Institute

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“Cyberspace is constantly expanding, making it difficult to differentiate criminal activities, terrorism, warfare, and violence. Cyberattacks are becoming more complicated. The technical and the psychological aspects of cyberattacks are intricately intertwined. As a result, the victims suffer from both technical and psychological damage. However, there is a limit for a single country to defend themselves from such attacks. That is the reason we need the cooperation with the European Union.”

[EU] Fredrik Ekfeldt, the Deputy Head of the EU delegation to the Republic of Korea

Photo by the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses

“We talk a lot about cybersecurity, but in fact, what we are talking about is information and communications technology. While investments in ICT are augmenting very fast every year, investments in cybersecurity are only augmenting on a linear curve. We are relaying on ICT, and at the same time, we are vulnerable to attacks because we do not invest enough in cybersecurity.”


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.