[Weekend Briefing] Taking advantage of fears

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Jun. 23, 2023 8:30PM 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. As of this writing, The Readable has published more than 200 news articles. We are the witnesses of history being made, as cybersecurity is no longer a niche, but a fundamental part of society. Apart from celebrating our milestone, artificial intelligence has been dominating global headlines once again. Multinational discussions on how to regulate AI, with an aim to protect the world, have just started to bloom. I have included related news stories along with event notifications. Have a great weekend!

1. Fraudsters take advantage of sea salt panic buyers amid Fukushima fears

While sea salt prices are spiking in South Korea, fraud victims have appeared. According to multiple local media outlets, it was discovered that the scammers offered the victims sea salt at much cheaper prices and have even hijacked a legitimate phone number of a food ingredients manufacturer in order to deceive them. For the last six months, sea salt prices have climbed higher in South Korea out of fears that Japan will release Fukushima wastewater off of its neighboring Pacific coast, leading to customers’ panic buying. The major food company CJ CheilJedang warned their customers of theses scams, notifying them that they do not process orders through phone calls. The South Korean police have started their investigation due to the increase in fraud victims.

2. Undergraduate distributed hacked camera footage to earn credits on porn websites

An undergraduate student was arrested for distributing hacked camera footage that showed medical examinations in a plastic surgeon’s office in Seoul, according to the local media outlet JTBC. The accused admitted to all allegations that South Korean prosecutors made in a trial on Thursday. According to JTBC, the accused first downloaded the footage from a file sharing service based in a foreign country and uploaded it onto South Korean porn websites in order to earn credits which are used to watch other videos. The footage ended up being downloaded 6,700 times. The initial cause of the security breach at the hospital has remained unclear.

3. 4.6M sex buyers’ personal information was subscribed to by pimps

An application that offers a total of 4.6 million sex buyers’ personal information was discovered. The Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police arrested three suspects for facilitating prostitution and collecting personal information. The suspects allegedly collected sex buyers’ data, such as previous records of visiting places for prostitution and preference in sex, from 6,400 brothels across South Korea over the last two years, making millions of dollars in the process. The illicit application was also used by other criminals, including phone scammers who blackmailed sex buyers to make profits.

4. Top digital policy official to stress harmonization of AI and data privacy

Koh Jean, chairman of the presidential committee on digital platform government, is delivering a keynote address at the international conference on AI and data privacy held on Friday. Photo by Kuksung Nam, The Readable

South Korea’s top digital policy official shared his visions on rapidly developing artificial intelligence on Friday, saying that the latest technologies should harmonize with the protection of personal information. “During the process of using AI and collecting data for its training, we need both technologies and systems to protect personal information,” said Koh Jean, chairman of the presidential committee on digital platform government, during a keynote address at the international conference on AI and data privacy hosted by the presidential committee and South Korea’s privacy watchdog, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC). To read the full story, click here.

5. South Korea invests 3.4 billion won to boost maritime and space security

The South Korean government is providing 3.4 billion won ($2.6 million) in funding for private companies as part of a pilot program to enhance security capabilities across maritime and space. According to a press release on Tuesday, the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) stated that the investment will be focused on developing security products related to smart shipping, space, robotics, and drones. In an official notice, the South Korean government stated that they will provide 840 million won (almost $650,000) at the most for each project. To read the full story, click here.

6. Samsung phone users may disable Wi-Fi security app at their will

Samsung phone users may be able to deactivate or delete the Wi-Fi security application which is pre-installed in the latest Galaxy phones at their own will, according to the South Korean government on Wednesday. In a press release, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) stated that they held the 20th meeting and decided to issue administrative guidance to Samsung that will give Galaxy phone users the liberty to delete or disable “Secure Wi-Fi,” a preloaded and unremovable application. To read the full story, click here.

More on this week...

  1. DOJ launches new cyber unit targeting nat'l security threats [UPI]
  2. Biden staff are meeting regularly to develop AI strategy, White House says [Politico]

Upcoming events...

  1. European Union & Republic of Korea High-Level Conference on Cyber Security (June 30, South Korea) To register, click here.
  2. In-Person Future of Privacy Forum Training on Proposed EU AI Act (July 20, Singapore) To register, 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.