State power companies get cybersecurity orders

2015_02_cybersecurityThe Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) says state-run power companies will spend a total of 79 billion won ($71 million) on cybersecurity this year, an increase of 18 billion won. Minister Yoon Sang-jick on Thursday afternoon met with CEOs of 17 state-run energy companies, including the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Corporation (KHNP) and Korea Power Exchange.

Kepco, the nation’s sole power distributor, will get 28.4 billion won and KHNP 11.5 billion won. Each of the other companies will receive up to 4 billion won. The budget will be mostly spent on hiring security experts, maintaining internal network infrastructure and expanding maintenance teams. All 17 power companies will have to structure their internal network in five systems, from the current three.

The current system is broken down into a regular network that can access the Internet, an intranet that mainly deals with document processing, and an exclusive network to control the power plant. From now on, the intranet will have an additional system for confidential technical documents like power plant blueprints. The power plant control system will also be split into two networks to beef up security.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.



Government to reinforce cyber security manpower

The government said Thursday that it plans to train 5,000 experts by 2017 and boost cooperation among related government agencies to better cope with rising cyber security concerns. According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the government will also nurture the country’s cyber security-related industry to 10 trillion won (US$8.76 billion) from the current 5 trillion won by the cited year.

The measures came as unidentified hackers attacked the websites of the presidential office, another government agency and several media organizations on June 25, the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty. Anonymous, a loosely associated hacking group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

For full article, see Yonhap News.

Cybercrime sleuths have highly intricate challenges

In July last year, the Cyber Terror Response Team of the National Police Agency (NPA) received a report that the servers of KT, the country’s second-largest mobile carrier, had been hacked and the personal information, including residential registration numbers and names, of about 8.7 million KT customers was leaked.  The police then traced the IP addresses and found 10 hackers, including a 39-year-old man surnamed Shin, in three days. The police said it is very hard to locate these types of hackers, but it was fortunate at the time that they were able to find clues to track them down.

The police said the hackers were preparing another hacking attempt when they were caught. “We raided the hackers’ secret office and were able to secure digital evidence at the time, but it is very unusual to obtain digital evidence like this,” a spokesman for the NPA told the JoongAng Ilbo. “We also had trouble restoring the data that the hackers deleted when we raided their place.”

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Government to ban collecting resident registration numbers

The government said Friday it will ban the collection of resident registration numbers in principle, starting later this year, as part of efforts to strengthen the protection of personal information and prevent its abuse by hackers and other criminals. Under new measures set to take effect after the revision of the Personal Information Protection Act, government offices and private companies will be basically prohibited from gathering and using resident registration numbers online starting in August and offline by the end of this year, the government said.

The measures, jointly announced by the Korea Communications Commission, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, and the Financial Services Commission, will be enforced, except for inevitable circumstances. Resident registration numbers have been widely used for the purposes of administrative, financial, medical and welfare services.

The move comes as a number of local companies that collected and stored users’ identification information came under cyber attacks last year, compromising the private information of millions of Koreans.

For full article see Yonhap News.