Ransomware attacks rose 14 times over five years

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Jan. 16, 2023 7:55PM KST

The number of South Korean companies who reported to the nation’s cybersecurity agency about falling victim to ransomware attacks has increased 14 times over the past five years.

In 2018, 22 South Korean companies, including non-profit organizations, reported to the Korea Internet & Security Agency that they had been hit by ransomware, a cyberattack in which attackers hold victims’ information as hostage through encryption until they are paid.

The cases of ransomware reported to the cybersecurity agency rose gradually, reaching 325 cases last year, which is the highest level in the last five years. South Korean lawmaker Park Wan-joo disclosed this data on Sunday after he had received it from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

In a press release, the lawmaker urged authorities to take strong actions against escalating ransomware attacks and stressed the need to collect data on the amount of the damage caused by ransomware.

The Ministry of Science and ICT told The Readable that they are looking into conducting a survey related to ransomware attacks. However, they explained the difficulties of extracting the exact amount of costs caused by cyberattacks.

“Physical attacks are easier to estimate, as the damage is visible to the naked eye,” explained an official of Ministry of Science and ICT. “In cyber, it is hard to estimate since there are numerous variables to take into account.”


The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

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.