중앙데일리

Guarding against attack

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July 14,2009
The cyber terror attacks that have been infecting the nation s computers subsided over the weekend. The Korea Communications Commission lowered Internet safety warnings from caution to attention.

It is good that the cyber terrorism issue is being resolved without serious damage in the early stages, although the source and purpose of the attacks are still unknown.

Nevertheless, the attacks have left us with some painful lessons. The same mistakes have been repeated because we are not prepared. We experienced a similar kind of chaos on the Internet just six years ago, but our society s preparedness for instances of cyber terrorism has not improved much since then. Government agencies were supposed to have resolved the case in an organized manner, but they have instead added to confusion.

Some in the political community have made the groundless argument that the government wanted to use the case to incite fear about North Korea.

Eight out of 10 households have Internet service. From financial transactions, electronic communications and transportation, to water supply and drainage, the Internet is used in nearly all areas of life. It is terrible to imagine what would happen if those areas had come under attack.

If North Korea is behind the cyber attacks, as the South Korean National Intelligence Service assumes, our country has made as serious a mistake as was made during the Korean War: poor preparation for potential attacks.

If we once again make the mistake of experiencing disaster and then forget about it, only to have it happen again, history is bound to repeat itself at any time.

The other day the government released its measures against cyber terrorism, including plans to establish a headquarters for protection of information next year, which was earlier than anticipated in a previous plan. But time is running out.

A decent control tower must be set up immediately and mid- and long-term plans for addressing these issues must be carried out as soon as possible. Related actions must be taken and related institutions must be well maintained. The budget for data protection, which is just one-10th of the U.S. budget for the same line item, must be increased considerably.

People must also increase their own data protection measures. Every single one of us needs to protect the information we keep on the Internet. We need to install antivirus programs and report suspicious activities on the Internet immediately.

Most of all, we must never forget what happened on July 7, 2009.



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