By Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh, The Readable
Sep. 16, 2022 7:19PM KST
Hello, this is Kuksung Nam and Dain Oh in South Korea. The Readable has picked five news stories for you. Have a great weekend!
1. South Korea fines Google, Meta 100 billion won over privacy violation
South Korean regulators on Wednesday fined Google and Meta for breaching the country’s rules on privacy. The Personal Information Protection Commission said in a statement that it held the fifteenth plenary session and imposed fines of 69.2 billion won ($49 million) on Google and 30.8 billion won ($22 million) on Meta.
The penalty is the largest amount which has been issued so far regarding a violation of the privacy law. The PIPC stated that the South Korean websites of both companies did not obtain lawful consent from their users regarding the collection of personal information that was automatically tracked online for advertising purposes. Under the Personal Information Protection Act, service providers who intend to collect and use the personal information of users must notify them of the purpose and obtain consent from users.
Meta told The Readable that the company is confident that they are working in a legally compliant way that meets the processes required by the regulations. “As such, we do not agree with the PIPC’s decision,” the company said. “[We] will be open to all options including seeking a ruling from the court.” Google did not respond for comment.
2. South Korea issues arrest warrant for Do Kwon
South Korean prosecutors have received an arrest warrant for the co-founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, Do Kwon, over violating the country’s financial investment and capital market law, according to local news reports on Wednesday. Arrest warrants were issued for five other individuals who are connected to the co-founder and the company that developed the Terra and Luna cryptocurrencies. South Korean media reported that the prosecutors will request Interpol’s assistance since all six individuals are currently staying in Singapore. South Korean prosecutors are investigating the co-founder after people who invested in the Terra and Luna cryptocurrencies filed a fraud complaint against the co-founder and the company in May.
3. South Korean cybersecurity industry grows by 13.4%
The cybersecurity industry in South Korea has consolidated in every way, including a volume of business entities, revenue, exports, and personnel. The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Information Security Industry Association released an annual report regarding the nation's information security industry on Tuesday. As national statistics, the report not only delivers some of the most important indicators about the industry, but also suggests a roadmap regarding challenges.
According to the report, the total revenue of the South Korean cybersecurity industry in 2021 recorded 13.4% growth compared to 2020. Last year, the industry generated 13.86 trillion won (approximately $10 billion) in revenue, adding nearly 1.64 trillion won ($1.2 billion) within a year. The number of business entities showed an even higher growth rate of 18.2%. There were 1,283 cybersecurity companies in 2020. Over the year, the total number went up to 1,517, which means 234 new companies opened businesses in the cybersecurity industry.
Moreover, the South Korean industry acquired 8,856 new employees. This means the industry succeeded in attracting new personnel at a rate that was up 16.2% compared to the previous year. Regarding exports, the growth rate was 8.5%, adding almost 2.08 trillion won ($1.5 billion) in a year.
The Ministry of Science and ICT interpreted that the overall growth of the industry was driven by the high demands for cybersecurity especially after COVID-19. Necessary solutions for remote working, such as network, infrastructure, and data security solutions, were in the highest demand last year.
4. North Korea lashes out at US over cyber threats
North Korea on Wednesday lashed out at the United States, accusing it of spreading false information about North Korea being a cyber threat to national security. Kim Kuk-myong, a member of the Association for Countermeasures against International Cybercrimes, said in an article posted on the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s official website that the U.S. is misusing cyberspace “as a tool for realizing its heinous anti-DPRK pressure.”
The remarks came as the U.S. is strengthening its cooperation with allied countries in combating malicious cyber activities by the North Korean government. Last week, the U.S. State Department Cyberspace and Digital Policy bureau said in a statement that they are sponsoring a training series for global partners in Western Hemisphere, Africa, and Asia to counter North Korean cyber threats. To read the original reporting, click here.
5. Hacking attempts against South Korean government record 560K
While the official YouTube channel of the South Korean government was hacked early this month, a statistic was released to the public, showing that more than half a million hacking attempts were carried out against South Korean government agencies over the past six years.
According to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, the South Korean government has received 558,674 hacking attempts from January 2017 to July of this year. Throughout the entire period, attempts to steal information from the government was the number one goal among the various reasons for hacking, recording 228,950 (41%) attempts.
China and the United States turned out to be the top two countries from which the highest volume of hacking attempts against the South Korean government were carried out. Combined, attacks from China and the United States take up more than 43% of the entire threat volume. To read the original reporting, click here.
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.
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.