S. Korea, US step up cyber warfare partnership

The two governments will work on a draft deterrence strategy to fend off unexpected attacks, and South Korea will also increase personnel for its Cyber Command unit.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor on

South Korea will be stepping up its cooperation with the United States, particularly in the area of cyber warfare, to better deal with emerging threats. This comes on the back of last month's cyberattack, which was the largest the country had witnessed in two years.

South Korea is looking to recruit more people to join its Cyber Command unit to better mitigate unexpected online attacks.

The Yonhap News Agency reported Monday the South Korea's defense ministry said it will increase its cyber warfare forces and develop deterrence scenarios in partnership with the U.S. The deterrence methods will help the country be more prepared against an unprovoked attack in times of peace and war, it noted.

The two countries will draft a customized deterrence strategy as early as June in order to test and review it in the next joint military drills, which starts in late August this year, it added.

The need to increase manpower in its cyber warfare department is also evident. South Korea's Cyber Command team, which is a special unit launched in early 2010, currently has about 400 people in it. By comparison, North Korea is reportedly running a cyber warfare unit composed of 3,000 hackers who are trained to break into other computer networks for information and to spread malware, the report noted.

A senior ministry official reiterated the partnership with the U.S., saying: "We will cooperate with the U.S. to prepare measures in cyber policy, technology and information."

The importance of strengthening cybersecurity was highlighted when 3 broadcasters and 2 national banks in South Korea were simultaneously attacked in what represented the largest attack on the country in two years. Investigations are still ongoing to determine who initiated the attack, but it is speculated North Korea might be involved given its threats to launch attacks on its neighbor in the South, the report added.  

A separate report by Yonhap last Friday stated the affected banks and broadcasters have since fully normalized their networks.

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