[Weekend Briefing] Security as infrastructure

[Weekend Briefing] Security as infrastructure
South Korean lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo is speaking at the entrance ceremony for the White Hat School on August 31. Source: The Korea Information Technology Research Institute (KITRI)

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Sep. 1, 2023 6:30PM GMT+9 Updated Sep. 1, 2023 6:33PM GMT+9

“Weekend Briefing” is a weekly newsletter that is sent to The Readable’s subscribers every Friday. Journalists for The Readable select important news stories from the previous week. Topics encompass privacy, cybercrime, and policy development in cybersecurity. There are no costs involved with a subscription, and some content, such as industrial reports, is only available to those who subscribe to our newsletters.

Hello! This is Dain Oh reporting from South Korea. On Thursday, antivirus software entrepreneur turned politician Ahn Cheol-soo reflected on his early days creating V3. “I was alone 35 years ago,” Ahn remarked during the entrance ceremony for White Hat School, which took place in Seoul on the last day of August and was attended by 300 individuals. “Back in 1988, when I first developed V3, I felt isolated. But today, I see hundreds eager to walk the path I once took, all committed to safeguarding our nation,” added Ahn, thanking the white hat aspirants.

“Computer security will never cease to exist because it is social infrastructure,” Ahn stressed. The White Hat School is a fresh initiative aimed at nurturing the nation’s cybersecurity talent. Yoo Joon-sang, often considered the godfather of cybersecurity talent in South Korea, is the driving force behind this program. The Readable will be on location to chronicle the ongoing developments of this nationwide training effort. As for this week’s briefing, I have selected 7 news articles. Have a wonderful weekend!

1. Experts debate on South Korea’s engagement with Five Eyes intelligence alliance

Designed by Areum Hwang, The Readable

Experts in foreign policy and cybersecurity gathered on Wednesday to explore South Korea’s involvement with the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which comprises the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

“We have to realistically examine two things regarding our involvement with the Five Eyes,” said Yoo In-tae, an assistant professor of political science and international relations at Dankook University’s College of Social Sciences. He made these remarks during the third National Strategy Forum organized by the Korean Association of Cybersecurity Studies (KACS). “One is our willingness. Do we have the desire to join the intelligence alliance? If so, do we have the capability to join them? We need both the willingness and the capability to make things happen.” READ MORE

2. South Korean intelligence agency embraces academics to bolster cyber defense

Designed by Areum Hwang, The Readable

The South Korean intelligence agency is actively partnering with academia to bolster the country’s defenses against ever-evolving cyber threats.

In a Monday press release, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced the designation of the Korean Association of Cybersecurity Studies (KACS) as its inaugural specialized institution for cybersecurity. According to the country’s presidential decree, the NIS director has the authority to appoint a research organization to serve as a specialized institution, tasked with developing essential policies, strategies, and technologies for cybersecurity operations. READ MORE

3. South Korea ranks as the most targeted country after US and Ukraine, US cyber firm reveals

Luke McNamara, a principal analyst at Google owned cybersecurity firm Mandiant, is speaking during a media briefing at Google’s South Korean branch on Tuesday. Photo by Kuksung Nam, The Readable

South Korea stands as one of the countries most frequently targeted by cybercriminals, trailing only behind the United States and Ukraine, an expert at a U.S. cybersecurity company revealed on Tuesday.

Luke McNamara, a principal analyst at Mandiant, a cybersecurity firm owned by Google, revealed during a press briefing at Google’s South Korean office that South Korea ranked third on the company’s “cyber threat risk score.” Drawing from both internal and public data from last year, the U.S.-based firm evaluated the cyber threat levels in twenty-five countries, excluding China and Russia. READ MORE

4. Top Korean cybersecurity academic reveals details on WISA

Won Yoo-jae, the general chair of the World Conference on Information Security Applications (WISA) and the president of the Korea Institute of Information Security & Cryptology (KIISC), is delivering a welcoming speech at the 24th WISA on August 23. Source: KIISC

Last week, over 600 international researchers convened on an island south of the Korean Peninsula to discuss the latest advancements in cybersecurity. The three-day conference covered a range of topics, including artificial intelligence security and post-quantum computing (PQC).

Won Yoo-jae, the general chair of the World Conference on Information Security Applications (WISA) and the president of the Korea Institute of Information Security & Cryptology (KIISC), spoke to The Readable about the annual event. This year marks its 24th gathering, which took place on Jeju Island. READ MORE

5. New vulnerability assessment method is needed to protect critical infrastructure, researcher proposes

Jeju, South Korea ― On Thursday, a South Korean researcher proposed a novel method for assessing security vulnerabilities, aiming to actively bolster the country’s critical infrastructure against cyber threats.

At the 24th World Conference on Information Security Applications, Yoon Seong-su, a doctoral student from Chonnam National University’s System Security Research Center, shed light on the shortcomings of existing vulnerability assessment systems. His insights were based on his team’s ongoing research in the field. READ MORE

6. “Industry-academia cooperation is key to transition to post-quantum cryptography,” national cyber chief says

On Tuesday, South Korea’s top cybersecurity official pledged full support for industry leaders who are making the transition to post-quantum cryptography (PQC).

“In order to transition our nationwide cryptography systems to PQC, we need to build a strong foundation for PQC industrialization,” said Baek Jong-wook, the Third Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS). He made the comments in relation to the PQC conference that took place in Seoul on August 29. Instead of attending the event in person, the director conveyed his message through an agency press release. READ MORE

7. Samsung shines new light on hacking to tackle emerging cyber threats

Hwang Yong-ho, the corporate vice president at Samsung Electronics who also leads the security and privacy team at Samsung Research, is delivering a keynote speech at the 7th Samsung Security Tech Forum on Tuesday. Source: Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics, the South Korean tech powerhouse, is redefining the term “hacking.” Instead of its negative connotations, the company is embracing a positive spin, using it as a strategy to shield users from burgeoning cyber threats.

“If you think about the words ‘hacking’ and ‘hackers,’ many of us will conjure up negative images, such as extorting information from a firm, breaking into a system, or breaching private data,” noted Hwang Yong-ho, the corporate vice president at Samsung Electronics and leader of the security and privacy team at Samsung Research. In his keynote speech at the 7th Samsung Security Tech Forum (SSTF) on Tuesday, he added, “However, when viewed through the lens of offense and defense, the evolution of hacking can actually bolster more secure systems.” READ MORE


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.