[Weekend Briefing] South Korean police capture man accused of 14 billion won crypto hack

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Sep. 23, 2022 8:30PM KST

Hello, this is Kuksung Nam in South Korea. The Readable has picked five news stories for you. They include two news articles by Dain Oh, who covered the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul from Tuesday to Thursday. Have a great weekend!

1. South Korean police capture man accused of 14 billion won crypto hack

South Korean police said on Friday that they had captured a man who is accused of hacking 14 billion won ($9 million) worth of cryptocurrency. According to a press release, the suspect was captured in the Philippines with the cooperation of the local police and was brought back to Korea on September 23. The police stated that the suspect, who is in his forties, was a technician in the IT field. The individual conspired to commit the crime with accomplices and traveled to the Philippines to launder the criminal proceedings. According to the Cyber Investigation Bureau of National Office of Investigation, the suspects took the cryptocurrency from a single victim. The police did not disclose further information related to the crime.

2. South Korean intelligence agency says cyber-attacks became threats to democracy

National Intelligence Service Third Deputy Director Baek Jong-wook said on Tuesday that the offensive capabilities of state sponsored hacking groups are reaching the point of threatening liberal democracy. In a welcoming address at the International Conference on Building Global Cyberspace Peace Regime, the Third Deputy Director told the audience that numerous international and state sponsored hacking groups are deploying attacks by abusing the nature of cyberspace. GCPR is a conference on current policy and legal issues related to international and national cybersecurity. It is co-organized by NIS. In addition, the Third Deputy Director stressed the importance of cooperation between countries in cyberspace. “We are well aware that a single country cannot preserve peace and protect liberal democracy from cyber threats,” Baek said.

3. Hacking attempts on tax agency increased more than 10 times in four years

The South Korean tax agency has received 2,698 hacking attempts within the country last year. In 2018, the agency suffered 243 hacking attempts. The number soared more than 10 times in four years. According to a press release by South Korean congressman Hong Young-pyo on Wednesday, from 2018 to 2022, almost half of the attempts were carried out to steal information from the National Tax Service. China and the United States are the top two countries from which hacking attempts were carried out in high volumes. However, the statement added that it is hard to define the country where an attack originated because hackers hide their IP address while deploying attacks.

4. War Memorial of Korea was hacked and down for a week

Designed by Sangseon Kim, The Readable

The War Memorial of Korea was allegedly attacked by an unspecified hacker on September 7 and frozen for a week, reported multiple local news outlets in South Korea. According to the Chosun Ilbo, which first reported the hacking incident, the computer network of the War Memorial of Korea was frozen because of a cyber-attack, which led to the leaking of some of its sensitive information. Among the leaked information, historical material related to the Korean War and the director's personal information were included. To read the original reporting by Dain Oh, click here.

5. Cyber as a silent nuclear weapon: Former director of Mossad urges global leaders to take charge of cyberspace

Tamir Pardo, from left, and Ahn Cheol-soo are discussing cybersecurity during a session at the World Knowledge Forum, which was held on September 22. Photo by Maeil Business Newspaper

A former director of the Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel, emphasized global risks which are increased by cyber threats in the same way that the world is threatened by nuclear proliferation. “I define cyber [threats] as a silent nuclear weapon,” said Tamir Pardo, former director of the Mossad, during a session at the World Knowledge Forum where he attended virtually on Tuesday. “Unlike other weapons, [a cyber weapon] is quite hard to develop and quite expensive to buy. And this weapon can be activated by one person whether they are sitting at home or in an office.” To read the original reporting by Dain Oh, click here.


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.