Cybersecurity News that Matters

Cybersecurity News that Matters

[Weekend Briefing] Peculiar password left by North Korean hackers

by Dain Oh

May. 12, 2023
10:00 AM GMT+9

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
May 12, 2023 7:00PM GMT+9

“Weekend Briefing” is a weekly newsletter that is sent to The Readable’s subscribers every Friday. Cybersecurity journalists for The Readable carefully select important news stories from the previous week and deliver them in a compact form. Topics encompass cybercrime, geopolitics, and privacy. There are no costs involved with a subscription, and some content, such as the monthly ransomware index report, is only available to those who subscribe to our newsletters.

Hello! This is Kuksung Nam in South Korea. North Korean hackers have once again been in the spotlight this week. South Korean law enforcement attributed the data breach, which impacted 830,000 individuals connect to one of the country’s major hospitals in 2021, to North Korea. The decision was made based on various factors, including the use of a North Korean word that means “do not mess with me,” which the hacking group used with other combination of characters as a password for an account. In addition, the South Korean military is seeking to participate in a multinational cyber exercise led by the United States. The Ministry of National Defense announced their intention to regularly take part in the Cyber Flag exercise, which the country participated in for the first-time last year. Alongside these two articles, we have included an interview article which gives deep insights into the workings of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. We have also selected an article on security issues regarding webcams and our monthly ransomware index report for this week’s briefing. Have a great weekend!

1. North Korean hackers behind major hospital data theft, probe finds

A North Korean hacking group is responsible for a data breach that affected almost 830,000 individuals, including patients and employees of one of South Korea’s major hospitals two years ago, according to the South Korean police on Wednesday.

In a press release, the Korean National Police Agency stated that the North Korean hacking group had infiltrated the internal network of the Seoul National University Hospital in 2021 and exfiltrated the personal information of 810,000 patients and 17,000 former and current employees. According to the police, the hackers had gained access to private data such as names, dates of births, and in some cases, medical records of patients. To read the full story, click here.

2. South Korea seeks to participate in US-led cyber exercise

The South Korean military is planning to take part in annual multinational cyber exercises led by the United States, known as “Cyber Flag.”

The Ministry of National Defense said on Wednesday that they announced their intention to regularly participate in the Cyber Flag exercise to their U.S. counterpart during the 8th South Korea and U.S. Cyber Cooperation Working Group (CCWG). The CCWG was held from May 8 to 9 in Seoul. To read the full story, click here.

3. Conversation with Sami Khoury: How Canada has built a single unified cybersecurity center for its citizens

Sami Khoury, Head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, part of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). Designed by Sangseon Kim, The Readable

It was 2014 when Canadians found themselves falling victim to hacking. In July of that year, government investigators in Canada confirmed that the digital footprints, discovered in the network of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), belonged to Chinese state-sponsored hackers. The NRC is Canada’s research and development hub, with a core mission to foster industrial innovation that will lead to economic prosperity in the future.

Four years later, the Canadian government announced the establishment of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (the Cyber Centre) within the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). Committed to protecting Canadians from cyber threats, the Cyber Centre has become “the single unified source of expert advice, guidance, services and support on cybersecurity for Canadians and Canadian organizations.” Sami Khoury took on the role of Head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security in 2021, after previously serving as the Chief Information Officer for CSE.

The Readable sat down with Khoury, who was visiting San Francisco for the RSA Conference, to learn about the work that the Cyber Centre has done since its foundation. To read the full story, click here.

4. [101] Why I cover my laptop camera: things that can go wrong when you don’t manage webcams in your house

Have you ever imagined someone watching you on the other side of your laptop? I picture unknown peepers staring at me all the time whenever I see the camera on my computer. As a cybersecurity journalist, I learned early in my career that web cameras, or webcams, are easy targets for hackers to use to creep into one’s personal space.

By webcams, I mean every camera that is connected to the internet. They include not only laptop cameras but also diverse kinds of internet protocol (IP) cameras that are installed to monitor the insides of houses. For example, pet cameras have gained huge popularity over the past several years, attracting pet owners who want to safeguard their pets when they are away from home. Wallpads, which are embedded in living rooms in South Korean apartments, are another example of webcams. To read the full story, click here.

5. Ransomware index report: April 2023

The Readable’s subscribers can access a monthly ransomware report by S2W. The report includes specific statistics about ransomware groups and their victims, in addition to the numbers of newly opened data leak sites by ransomware groups. By reviewing these numbers, our readers will be able to get an idea of the overall threat landscape of the ransomware ecosystem. Jiho Kim, a researcher at S2W, provides reports representing her team’s work regarding threat intelligence. To read the current report, click here.

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The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

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.


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  • Dain Oh
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    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 expe...

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