By Dain Oh, The Readable
Dec. 8, 2023 6:20PM GMT+9
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Hello! This is Dain Oh reporting from South Korea. This week, the nation’s defense technology was in the spotlight after it was revealed that North Korean hackers succeeded in gaining access to 1.2 terabytes worth of data, which included confidential information about its safeguarding systems. Moreover, a South Korean expert warned of disinformation operations targeting next year’s parliamentary elections coming out of Pyongyang, which seeks to influence Seoul for their regime’s interests. Both news articles were covered by Kuksung Nam.
Post quantum cryptography and artificial intelligence were other topics that we reported on in the last few days. You can find all of them in this briefing. Enjoy our stories, and we wish you a wonderful weekend!
1. North Korean hackers stole 250 files linked to defense technologies
South Korean police are investigating a group of North Korea-affiliated hackers for their involvement in stealing approximately 250 files of data related to the nation's defense technologies.
On December 4, the Seoul Metropolitan Police stated in a press release that North Korean-affiliated cybercriminals carried out attacks against multiple South Korean companies, including those in the defense industry, pharmaceutical firms, and research centers, gaining access to 1.2 terabytes worth of data in total. Among the stolen information, the police explained, was compromised information on crucial technologies, with the most concerning theft being 250 files of essential data including the information on the country’s anti-aircraft defense systems. READ MORE
2. South Korea should beware of North Korea’s interference in 2024 election, expert stressed
North Korea has targeted South Korea with cyber-based disinformation attacks in the past in order to influence the nation’s elections, and this should raise serious concerns that the same will occur during next year’s parliamentary elections, according to a South Korean expert on Thursday.
On December 7, Kim Eun-young, an associate professor at the Department of Crime Investigation at the Catholic Kwandong University, broke down and explained North Korea’s influence operations during the sixth National Strategy Forum hosted by the Korean Association of Cybersecurity Studies (KACS). READ MORE
3. South Korea selects eight candidates for national post quantum cryptography standards
A South Korean research organization dedicated to developing national standards of post quantum cryptography (PQC) announced the results of its first round of competition on Thursday in which 16 algorithms submitted from November of last year to October of this year were compared. Of the numerous applicants, eight algorithms were selected to compete in the next round.
“After nearly a year of evaluation, the KpqC team is pleased to announce the algorithms that will advance to the KpqC Competition Round 2,” wrote the research organization in an announcement published onto their website. The KpqC is an abbreviation of “Korean Post-Quantum Cryptography.” READ MORE
4. Former UN head Ban urges countries to address AI’s potential catastrophic risk
Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concerns on Tuesday about the perils posed by unregulated artificial intelligence technology, stating that the risks are too great to allow the technology to proliferate unchecked and uncontrolled.
“Experts are continually sounding alarms, stressing that without proper oversight and international regulations, AI could unleash catastrophes that will rival nuclear war, pandemics, and the accelerating climate crisis,” stressed Ban during his keynote speech at the third World Emerging Security Forum (WESF) held in Seoul, South Korea. “We must unite to harness the full potential of AI technology while simultaneously safeguarding ourselves against its potential threats and risks.” READ MORE
5. South Korean man gets 10 years in prison for China-based phone scam
A South Korean man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for defrauding more than a hundred people through a cross-border telephone scam that spanned nearly six years.
According to local news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the Daejon District Court ordered the forty-one-year-old suspect, who was the leader of the phone scamming operation, to pay a fine of 800 million won (around $620,000) in addition to his ten-year prison sentence. The court explained their decision, stating that criminal activity of this kind must be addressed with severe punishment due to its antisocial nature, as it leaves victims drained of funds and in a very difficult position from which to recover from their losses. READ MORE
6. [People] Ha Jae-cheol, 29th President of Korea Institute of Information Security & Cryptology
Ha Jae-cheol was inaugurated as the 29th President of the Korea Institute of Information Security & Cryptology at the organization’s general meeting which took place on December 2. He has been teaching at Hoseo University since 2007, after serving at Korea Nazarene University. He graduated from Kyungpook National University, where he received a PhD in electrical engineering. The newly appointed president will start his one-year term on January 1, replacing Won Yoo-jae, who is the current president.
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.