South Korean spy agency approves of using iPhone for work in public sector

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Jan. 11, 2023 8:16PM KST

The National Intelligence Service announced on Wednesday that it has tentatively confirmed the security requirements for iPhone, liberating Apple users who were not allowed to use their devices at work in the public sector.

As the highest government body which sets the security standards for products and services that are adopted by public institutions, the NIS published the national security requirements regarding mobile devices in iOS and iPadOS on January 11.

The requirements specifically deal with the iPhone’s mobile device management (MDM) software. MDM enables users to protect data by offering multiple security features, such as blocking audio and video recording and access to the internet. When a device is lost, its users can remotely lock the phone or reset its settings as an emergency measure provided with MDM. According to the NIS, Apple recently enhanced its features for iPhone MDM and satisfied the security requirements of the South Korean government.

There have been continuous requests for the agency to allow iPhones in government institutions. Until now, iPhone users were unable to use their phones for work because there were no security standards. Government officials are only allowed to use products and services that comply with the security conditions.

After receiving additional opinions over the next 10 days, the agency plans to confirm the final draft of security requirements for iPhones on the last day of this month and start applying them from the first day of February.

“By instituting the security requirements for iPhone, government institutions will be able to build mobile workplaces with enhanced security,” said the NIS in a press release.

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

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.