[Weekend Briefing] Security awareness is the alpha and omega

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Jul. 14, 2023 8:40PM 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 Dain Oh in South Korea. It was the national anniversary of information security here this week, having an annual ceremony on Wednesday. South Korea designated July as the month of information security three years after the nation received boundless cyberattacks from Pyongyang on July 7, 2009. During this “Security Awareness Month,” cybersecurity professionals celebrate what has been achieved and examine what must be done in the future while the government strives to raise the public awareness on cybersecurity. As a member of the cybersecurity community, we all know that the key to defeating cyberattacks is public awareness. However, it is too frequently neglected. Mun Chong-hyun, the eminent expert on North Korean hacking attacks, warned the public of this indifference at the annual information security conference on July 12.

The Readable has been collaborating with Ringle, the English learning platform, to enhance public awareness on cybersecurity. Tutors and students of Ringle have told us that they honestly did not care or know about cybersecurity previously, but by reading our material, they became aware of its importance and wanted to learn how to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Kuksung Nam wrote this month’s material with Ringle. Including these stories, I have selected five news articles in this briefing. Have a great weekend!

1. South Korea announces master plan for post-quantum cryptography

Click on image to expand. Source: The National Intelligence Service. Designed by Sangseon Kim, The Readable

The South Korean government will transform its national cryptography systems to post-quantum cryptography by 2035, according to a master plan disclosed on Wednesday. Laying out the decadelong roadmap in six tracks, the master plan aims to protect the nation from quantum computing threats and fortify national cybersecurity from a long-term perspective.

In a press release published on the national information security anniversary, the National Intelligence Service and the Ministry of Science and ICT elaborated three objectives that the master plan pursues. The major objective is to develop action plans for the six tracks by 2024. The six tracks include technology acquisitions, amendments to regulations, the establishment of procedures, a support system for cryptography transformation, the advancement of assurance infrastructure, and the construction of the industrial base. To read the full story, click here.

2. Tackling phishing attacks becomes top priority for South Korea, expert asserts

South Koreans should be cautious of email phishing scams as they are the most prolific attacks deployed against the country, warned a cybersecurity expert on Wednesday.

Mun Chong-hyun, director of the security center at the South Korean cybersecurity firm Genians, is delivering a speech at the International Conference on Information Security (ICIS) on Wednesday. Source: Korea Information Security Industry Association (KISIA)

“A lot of people underestimate the impact of email-based attacks. Even security experts regard them as something harmless that they encounter every day,” said Mun Chong-hyun, director of the security center at the South Korean cybersecurity firm Genians, during a speech at the International Conference on Information Security (ICIS). “This is not true. More than 74% of the attacks targeting South Koreans are conducted through email.” To read the full story, click here.

3. South Korea’s national power distributor sends out 50,000 erroneous emails

The national electricity distributor mistakenly sent out almost 50,000 emails with users’ personal information to the wrong people more than three months ago.

Designed by Areum Hwang, The Readable

According to the South Korean lawmaker Kim Sung-won on Friday, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) planned to distribute 5,990,000 emails as part of their customer verification program and sent out 300,000 notifications per day starting from April 13. KEPCO discovered that they sent erroneous emails to 49,884 customers after receiving a phone call from a user who opened unintended messages on April 18. The data included recipients’ names and addresses. To read the full story, click here.

4. [101] Is ChatGPT safe to use? Security concerns regarding the AI chatbot

Have you ever imagined having a personal assistant who can summarize a lengthy report in the blink of an eye and translate documents into multiple languages? One who can collect just the correct information you need and give you instant tips when you are stuck with unwavering computer programs? It is becoming real. The newest technology, ChatGPT, has shaken the globe, attracting those who are in need of a helping hand.

However, there are several precautions that one has to keep in mind before using ChatGPT. First, this artificial intelligence chatbot doesn’t always tell the truth. At the bottom of the chatbot’s prompt, there is a warning that states that it “may produce inaccurate information about people, places or facts.” ChatGPT, at times, fabricates or hallucinates answers. Although the generated answer may seem plausible, it could, in fact, be factually incorrect or, worse, have absolutely no relation to the given question. To read the full story, click here.

5. Ransomware index report: June 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 latest report, click here.


The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

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.