[Weekend Briefing] Smart home hacks under scrutiny as South Korean authorities dive in

By Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh, The Readable
Jun. 11, 2022 8:00AM PDT

San Francisco ― We picked four news for you. Have a great weekend!

1. Smart Home Hacks Under Scrutiny as South Korean Authorities Dive In

South Korean Authorities are launching an investigation into smart home hacks. The Ministry of Science and ICT announced on Wednesday that they started a joint investigation with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. In the statement released to the press, they stated that they had selected twenty apartment complexes nation-wide and plan to look through their security management and mandatory safety procedures related to smart home devices. It has been six months since a local news site exclusively reported the smart home hacks. In October of last year, the Electronic Times reported that smart home devices called wallpads had been hacked, leaking huge amounts of personal data onto illegal websites. Wallpads are tablets attached to apartment walls which enables users to remotely control smart home gear.

2. South Korean Cybersecurity Companies Showed Their Solutions at the RSA Conference 2022

South Korean cybersecurity companies made their way to the world's leading information security event, the RSA conference, which was held in San Francisco from June 6 to June 9. The Korea Pavilion was organized by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Korea Information Security Industry Association (KISIA). The top ten companies were selected by the two agencies to join the exhibition. It included AI Spera, EYL, F1Security, MonitorApp, NetAnd, Quad Miners, S2W, SecuLetter, Spiceware, and Stealth Solution. Their solutions encompassed data-driven anomaly-behavior detection, quantum random number generation, network security solutions, cyber threat intelligence, advanced email security solutions, and cloud protection. According to the event's organizer, the 31st annual RSA Conference attracted more than 26,000 attendees, including over 400 exhibitors on the expo floors.

3. Data Breach at One of the Biggest Digital Reading Apps Impacts Thousands in South Korea

The number one digital reading application in Apple’s app store in South Korea, the Millie's library, admitted that it was hacked on June 3. The platform released a statement on June 4 explaining that the information of 13,182 users had been breached. The Millie’s library has over 3 million subscribers. Email addresses, including encrypted mobile phone numbers and passwords, are in the list of hacked information. In the statement, the platform reassured its users that it is impossible to identify specific individuals within the leaked sources because it is encrypted. This is not the first time the platform has come under cyber-attack. Three years ago, on June 14, 2019, it suffered a hit, which resulted in the personal data leakage of its users.

4. South Korea’s Former Spy Chief Says Personal Information of Public Figures Has Been Kept for Years

Former chief of South Korea’s intelligence agency admitted that there are internal documents in the intelligence agency related to the personal information of politicians, entrepreneurs, and journalists in South Korea. During an interview on a local radio broadcast on Friday, Park Ji-Won, the former director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), said that the agency has kept personal information files dating back to the 1960’s. According to the interview, the NIS had collected this information until the end of President Park Geun-Hye’s administration. Her presidential term was terminated in 2017. “[The veracity of the information] is not verified,” said the former chief. “I tried to enact a special law to abolish the documents. But I failed [in my term of office].” The revelation came up after the interviewer asked Park if he had any regrets related to his two year term as the director of the NIS.


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.

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.