By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Apr. 14, 2023 6:36PM GMT+9
As North Korea continues their illicit cyber activities to fund the country’s nuclear missile programs, the leading experts in South Korea and the United States convened on Friday to discuss a practical partnership to hinder the North Korean cyber operations.
“We have to take care of not only the government actors, but also those in the private sector and academia,” said Kim So-jeong, a senior research fellow of the Institute for National Security Strategy and an advisor to the Korea-U.S. cyber security working group, at the panel discussion of the last phase of the fourth Korean Security Summit held by the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Korea Project. “Through these cooperations, we can start joint threat assessments and provide evidence-based material for policy makers.”
The Korean Security Summit has been organized by the Korea Project since 2019, bringing together professionals from South Korea and the U.S. to discuss major security issues in the Korean peninsula. This year’s event, which was held for three days, covered some of the most prominent issues in South Korea, such as commemorating 70 years of alliance with the U.S. and addressing North Korean illicit cyber operations.
The last day was dedicated to the topic of North Korea’s cryptocurrency thefts. Experts expressed their concerns on how the country has rapidly cultivated their knowledge in cybercriminal activities. According to John Park, director of the Korea Project, who has been conducting research on the North Korean regime for more than a decade, the country has been meticulously abusing social anxieties, such as layoffs, budget cuts, and funding drops in venture capital to seduce its targets.
Nick Carlsen, a blockchain intelligence analyst at TRM and former intelligence analyst of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, suggested a more practical partnership between South Korea and the U.S. He stressed the need to start with small steps between the two countries, such as tackling a crypto hacking case conducted by North Korea. These “meaningful joint cases” could be actively implemented by South Korea because it has the most in-depth knowledge of North Korea, added Carlsen.
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.