South Korean military official stresses need for managing cyber risks in weaponry

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Sep. 21, 2023 7:30PM GMT+9

A South Korean military official emphasized the crucial role of risk management in modern weaponry, which increasingly incorporates emerging technologies, during remarks on Thursday.

“In the past, South Korea was a country that imported weaponry from leading nations in the defense industry,” noted Park Hyun-kyoo, the director of the Defense Computing Information Agency, an organization affiliated with the Ministry of National Defense that concentrates on developing and overseeing the military’s information systems. “Now, South Korea has become a country that export arms.”

Park Hyun-kyoo, the director of the Defense Computing Information Agency, is delivering a speech at the opening session of the Korea Institute of Information Security & Cryptology’s workshop held on Thursday. Photo by Kuksung Nam, The Readable

Park Hyun-kyoo expressed optimism during a workshop hosted by the Korea Institute of Information Security & Cryptology (KIISC), forecasting that this year’s figures could surpass previous milestones. According to the Defense White Paper released by the Ministry of National Defense last February, South Korea raked in $17.3 billion from defense exports in 2022, marking a fivefold increase compared to the average revenue generated over the past five years.

Addressing the imperative to safeguard South Korea’s expanding military assets, Director Park emphasized the need for heightened vigilance in cybersecurity. He singled out emergent technologies like artificial intelligence and data analytics as areas demanding particular scrutiny. “Future military information systems will incorporate technologies related to AI and data,” he noted. “Given that no security measures can offer 100% foolproof protection, it’s crucial for us to think strategically about how to respond to a multi-faceted array of cyberattacks.”

Highlighting U.S. efforts to bolster cybersecurity within its military arsenal, the director noted the Risk Management Framework (RMF) developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2015. The framework aims to comprehensively safeguard defense assets throughout their lifecycle. Park revealed that South Korea is actively developing its own variant of this system, dubbed the “K-RMF,” and plans for its gradual implementation are already underway.

Further emphasizing the critical role of collaboration, Director Park underscored the need for a strong partnership between the military, the private sector, and academia for the successful adoption and operation of the K-RMF system. “These sectors must work hand in hand,” he stated. “The system’s effectiveness will be grounded in the collective sharing of knowledge and experience from each contributing party.”

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

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.