Reinforce cybersecuritySouth Korea’s Defense Ministry confirmed that classified materials from its computer network were leaked allegedly by North Korean intruders. It said it discovered traces that a server of the National Cyber Command had been infected by malware in September. The malware had been first active from Aug. 4. It had come from Shenyang in northeast China where North Korean hackers are based and the malware was similar to the kind made in North Korea, the ministry said. The Defense Ministry was unaware for more than a month and a half that its computer files were leaking from the military
The Defense Ministry assured that its intranet system was safe from hacking as it is physically disconnected from outside and disallows intrusion. But hackers were able to sneak in when the intranet and internet were connected for an antivirus checkup. The ministry had been negligent to the fact that connection could give opportunity to hackers.
Officials also have disobeyed the regulation that classified materials cannot be stored on personal computers. We warned of vigilance when the email accounts of South Korean government officials in the line of foreign and security affairs had been stolen by North Korean hackers in August. The Defense Ministry should have reinforced surveillance and discipline.
The Defense Ministry must re-examine all of the computer networks in the military. It must identify exactly how many and what computers have been infected by malware. The government must prepare actions if it confirms North Korea is accountable for the hacking. Our cyber warfare capabilities must be strengthened. We cannot counter North Korea, whose cyber force is more than 10-times our 600-strong force in Cyber Command.
The ministry should establish a research institute on cyber warfare. It is fortunate that Korea University and LIG Nex1 have joined forces to set up a cyber warfare research center. The joint chief of staff headquarters also should consider creating a bureau in charge of cyber warfare. The ministry should be aware that the cyber war is ongoing.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 7, Page 30