Hanging the key at the door

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Hanging the key at the door

The more the police digs into the case of a 26-year university student breaking into the Central Government Complex in downtown Seoul to change his score on a civil service examination, the more humiliating it has become for the government. It’s slack security is hard to believe.

The police discovered there was a simple explanation for how the man freely entered the Minister of Interior office and broke into a computer system. He didn’t have an insider accomplice. He was able to penetrate the office of the personnel management section of the Ministry of Interior because the door code was scribbled on the wall next to the keypad for anyone to see.

Maintenance staff confirmed the scribbled number had been there for some time. Instead of changing the security code regularly, the office more or less hung the key next to its door. This is the action of our central government, which has enjoyed boasting about being the most digitalized state in the world.

The Ministry of Interior, which is in charge of running the personnel management office as well as the government building it is headquartered in, has been busy trying to cover up its laxness.

The personnel management section did not share the fact that the door code was on the wall with the police. Police discovered the number had been erased by the time they arrived on the scene.

Public officials are suspected to have erased the code and tried to hide the fact from the police in order to avoid any accountability. The personnel management section denied the existence of the scribbled number and the vice minister made no mention of it during a press briefing.

Law enforcement officials must get to the bottom of the case to discipline the people who have brought shame to the government. The government meanwhile must toughen security discipline.

Instead of coming up with makeshift actions every time an embarrassing incident takes place, the government should come up with regular guidelines and a system to upgrade its overall security awareness. Employing a biometrics-based authentication system could be an option. Most of all, bureaucrats should be shaken out of their complacent work and security habits.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 8, Page 30

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