By Dain Oh, The Readable
Nov. 10, 2023 8:00PM GMT+9
“Weekend Briefing” is a weekly newsletter sent to subscribers of The Readable every Friday. Our journalists select important news items from the previous week on topics ranging from privacy to policy development in cybersecurity, all to help you stay abreast of the latest breaking issues. And not only is this provided free of cost to our subscribers, but the briefing contains new content exclusive to subscribers, such as our insightful industrial reports.
Hello! This is Dain Oh reporting from South Korea. Security concerns surrounding artificial intelligence are on the rise worldwide, accelerating multidisciplinary discussions among experts on how best to address them. There were four major conferences focusing on AI security this week, among which I participated in one as a panelist to share my international perspective. The others were covered by Kuksung Nam, whose articles on the events can be found in this briefing.
Collaboration between the public and private sectors was of key interest this week due to the ongoing hacking attacks out of North Korea directed against the South. You can learn about measures being taken by Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), specifically its “Magic Broom Operation,” an effort that has been undertaken to block critical holes in the ROK’s computer networks exploited by Pyongyang’s army of hackers. Also covered are the latest joint agreements arrived at by South Korea, the United States, and Japan in order to counter North Korean cyber threats moving forward.
Moreover, a new book on the impact of coalition navies on the course of the Korean War, which will feature a contribution from South Korean Naval Commander Jihoon Yu, will soon be released. At the bottom of this brief, you will learn of an event dedicated to South Korean startups scheduled to occur next week in Sunnyvale, California. Enjoy our stories, and we wish you a wonderful weekend!
1. Generative AI could supercharge cyber defense capabilities, Google Cloud executive says
Recent advances in artificial intelligence appear poised to assist organizations in establishing best practices to more effectively counter cyber threats, according to a Google Cloud executive on Monday.
Mark Johnston, Director of the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Google Cloud, stressed the importance of our taking a new perspective on generative AI during a keynote speech at the AI Security Global Festa. Johnston stated that, despite the numerous concerns people have over the state-of-the-art technology, particularly regarding its potential to aid hackers in facilitating cyberattacks, organizations should keep in mind that the very same technology puts them in a more favorable position to protect themselves against such attacks. READ MORE
2. Top financial security official recommends addressing “the human element” to more fully strengthen banking security
Financial institutions need to pay more and better attention to the “human element” in their quest to create a fully secure banking system if they hope to be able to counter emerging cyber threats, stressed Kim Chul-woong, South Korea’s top financial security official, on Thursday.
Kim, President of the Financial Security Institute (FSI), noted that banks are on the front lines of the great digital transformation and must adapt to the latest technological advancements at a rapid speed. Speaking at the 17th Financial Information Security Conference (FISCON), held in Seoul, Kim explained that bad actors are targeting financial institutions more than ever before, with attacks reaching a point where they have become a threat to the core value of the banking system: trust. READ MORE
3. Cybersecurity expert warns of possible backdoor attacks against AI
Bad actors could compromise artificial intelligence models by installing backdoors and using them to exploit their targets secretly, warned a cybersecurity expert on Wednesday.
Lim Jong-in, Distinguished Professor in the School of Cybersecurity at Korea University, speaking at the 8th AI Ethics and Legislation Forum held in Seoul, discussed cybersecurity challenges likely to arise in the era of AI’s ascension. Lim, who also has served as special advisor to the President for National Security, detailed the possible disastrous outcomes that could arise as a result of hackers implementing backdoors in AI models. READ MORE
4. Magic Broom Operation: South Korea is blocking security holes abused by Pyongyang
Security vulnerabilities discovered in a popular authentication software application have been exploited by North Korean hacking groups despite an unusual warning issued to South Korean users four months ago, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said on Tuesday.
In a joint operation intended to fortify Korea’s national security, the NIS has joined forces with antivirus software companies to create applications able to detect vulnerable software on users’ devices in order to delete it automatically. READ MORE
5. South Korea, US, Japan to launch cyber consultation group, following Camp David agreement
South Korea, the United States, and Japan will launch a high-level cyber consultative group to jointly respond to global cyber threats, according to South Korea's presidential office on Monday.
The establishment of the trilateral body occurred following the Camp David agreement reached in August, a concord in which the three nations agreed to create a working group to deter North Korean cyber threats. READ MORE
6. Quantum cryptographic device passes South Korea’s security testing for the first time
South Korea is taking a step forward in achieving its goal of protecting data in public institutions through quantum technology as the country witnesses the debut of a security-certified quantum cryptographic device.
On Tuesday, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) greenlighted a quantum key management system (QKMS) product, making it the first such equipment to pass the national security requirements on quantum cryptography communication technology. Accordingly, the product received a security verification from the Electronic and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), which is the government's designated quantum internet laboratory. READ MORE
7. [Books] Coalition Navies during the Korean War: Understanding Combined Naval Operations
A book co-authored by overseas maritime security experts on the role of the coalition navies in the Korean War will be published. Jihoon Yu, a naval commander of the Republic of Korea who is currently working as a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, participated in the writing as a Korean expert. READ MORE
8. [Events] Sunnyvale, CA: Korean Startups Demo Day & Networking
A Silicon Valley based venture capital firm is hosting an event where innovators can showcase their ideas and products. Assembling entrepreneurs and investors from South Korea and the United States, the event is scheduled to take place on November 16 at Plug and Play Tech Center, Sunnyvale, California.
“We have organized this event to provide promising South Korean startups with investment opportunities, particularly the ones that aim to expand their markets into the United States,” said Linda Baek, CEO at KSWAN Ventures. The VC, headquartered in Silicon Valley, focuses on investing in early-stage startups and encouraging their growth through maintaining long-term relationships. READ MORE
More stories this week…
9. [CISA] US, South Korea to share cyber threat information, strengthening bilateral collaboration
On Thursday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly and the Republic of Korea’s Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Baek Jong-wook signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining areas for collaboration under the bilateral Cyber Framework signed by President Biden and Republic of Korea President Yoon in April. GO TO ORIGINAL STATEMENT
10. [Mandiant] Russia-linked threat actor disrupts power in Ukraine using a novel attack
Mandiant published an in-depth report on Thursday revealing the Russia-linked threat actor Sandworm’s latest cyber activities against operational technology (OT) in Ukraine. “This attack represents the latest evolution in Russia’s cyber physical attack capability, which has been increasingly visible since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the researchers at the cybersecurity firm wrote. GO TO ORIGINAL REPORT
The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang. This article was copyedited by Arthur Gregory Willers.
Dain Oh is a distinguished journalist based in South Korea, recognized for her exceptional contributions to the field. As the founder and editor-in-chief of The Readable, she has demonstrated her expertise in leading media outlets to success. Prior to establishing The Readable, Dain was a journalist for The Electronic Times, a prestigious IT newspaper in Korea. During her tenure, she extensively covered the cybersecurity industry, delivering groundbreaking reports. Her work included exclusive stories, such as the revelation of incident response information sharing by the National Intelligence Service. These accomplishments led to her receiving the Journalist of the Year Award in 2021 by the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology, a well-deserved accolade bestowed upon her through a unanimous decision. Dain has been invited to speak at several global conferences, including the APEC Women in STEM Principles and Actions, which was funded by the U.S. State Department. Additionally, she is an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association, further exhibiting her commitment to journalism.