South Korean president says young ethical hackers are essential asset in cyber defense

South Korean president says young ethical hackers are essential asset in cyber defense
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol delivers a speech during an event with young white hat hackers on October 12. Source: Office of the President

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Oct. 13, 2023 8:45PM GMT+9

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol met with young white hat hackers and stressed their role in defending the nation against cyber threats.

“Each and every one of you is an important strategic asset to the nation’s cyber defense,” said the President to the approximately 100 participants who gathered at the former presidential compound, Cheong Wa Dae, on October 12. “The capabilities you possess are the strength that keep the country’s digital system safe.” The speech was released to the public through the president’s official YouTube channel the same day.

At the beginning of his speech, Yoon congratulated the winners of this year’s DEF CON, a world-renowned hacking tournament that took place in Las Vegas in August. The young hackers, who took first place two years in a row as a joint team, participated in the competition alongside hacking teams from the United States and Canada.

The president asserted that the government would continue its efforts to encourage and support promising young ethical hackers. “Above all else, cybersecurity is directly related to national security,” said Yoon. “The South Korean government will expand its collaboration on joint research with countries that have powerful cyber capabilities, such as the United States and Germany, to foster an elite workforce.” He also added the country will support the young generation of cyber professionals by partnering them with the world’s best research organizations.

The president has emphasized the importance of cybersecurity since the start of his presidential term. Yoon was the first president to attend the annual cybersecurity commemoration  in person last year, which was held two months after his inauguration. During the opening statements, the president promised to develop cybersecurity into a strategic industry by educating 100,000 talented individuals and by building an information-sharing system that will link the public and private sectors.

South Korea’s president further spotlighted the challenges the country is facing in the cyber landscape. Yoon particularly emphasized the danger posed by North Korea, specifically condemning its extensive illicit cyber operations aimed at stealing money and obtaining information to advance its nuclear weapons program. The president also spoke on the negative influence caused by fake news, stressing that it poses a continual  threat to South Korea’s democracy and economic stability.

This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.

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.