By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Sep. 15, 2023 10:55PM GMT+9
Experts from South Korea and the European Union convened on Friday to explore collaborative approaches for combating emerging cyber threats.
Cormac Callanan, the cybersecurity coordinator for Enhancing Security Cooperation In and With Asia (ESIWA), kicked off the discussion with a poignant quote that encapsulated the spirit of cyber cooperation. His remarks came during a special session of the Hongneung Defense Forum focused on South Korea-EU relations in the realm of cybersecurity.
Just as one would instinctively assist someone suffering a potential heart attack in front of them, the same principle should apply to countries supporting one another during a cybersecurity emergency. “If you are under an attack and you are actually suffering the consequences and you know it’s coming from a neighboring country, or even a distant country, when you speak with them and when you deal with them, you expect them to support you and try to resolve the crisis in an amicable, non-violent way,” noted Callanan.
Following Callanan’s opening remarks, Kim Heun-jin, the deputy director of North Korea nuclear affairs policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), highlighted a landmark international collaboration in the battle against illicit cyber activities. She cited the joint operation by the United States and Germany to dismantle a cryptocurrency mixer that was reputedly the world's largest darknet money laundering service, this past March.
The Deputy Director also emphasized the multiplying effect that unilateral sanctions could have when echoed by other nations. “While allied countries like South Korea and the U.S. have independently levied sanctions to combat North Korea’s cyber misdeeds, one might argue that unilateral actions are insufficient on the global stage,” Kim noted. “However, the cumulative effect could be substantial if several countries impose sanctions on the same target concurrently. This approach could amplify the impact and provide a more effective response to malicious actors.”
Patryk Pawlak, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, expanded on the deputy director’s points, offering a case study of potential collaboration between South Korea and the EU. The cyber diplomacy expert noted that substantive discussions regarding a coordinated sanctions strategy for tackling cyber threats have been surprisingly sparse between the two entities. “Please remember that the EU’s autonomous sanctions regime allows for reacting in the case of an attack against allies,” said Pawlak. “We have actually adopted cyber sanctions the most in the attacks on our partners in specific instances in Ukraine and Georgia.”
Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.