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Means to punish N. Korea`s cyber terrorism called for

Posted September. 10, 2015 23:55,   


Lim Jong-in, the special security adviser for President Park Geun-hye, admitted Thursday that South Korea has never taken any successful countermeasure against North Korea`s cyberattacks. In a discussion paper to be presented at the Seoul Defense Dialogue`s main forum today, Lim compared Seoul`s response to Pyongyang`s cyberattacks to that of the United States, which countered the provocation with economic sanctions and retaliatory attacks. Although he explained he meant to say that the South had failed to take substantial and systematic countermeasures that would do damage to the North, the remarks is a shocking revelation to the Korean public.

On Thursday alone, there were multiple cyberattacks that originated or suspected to be carried out by the North. It has been revealed that confidential information about South Korean Navy destroyers joint operational tactics was leaked by hackers and that the North conducted 131 cyberattacks on our military`s online networks from 2014 until July this year. Despite the regular cyberattacks from the outside, the government`s failure to substantially respond indicates a big hold in national security.

President Park appointed Lim as her special security adviser in January and newly set up a cyber-security unit under the National Security Office in April. Kim Kwan-jin, who heads the National Security Office, clearly said that the office is the control tower for cyber security. If the government failed to take countermeasures against the North`s cyber provocation, we cannot help but ask why the presidential office set up the cyber security unit. The problem would be even more serious had there been a turf war between the National Security Office and the National Intelligence Service over countermeasures against cyber terror that caused the lack of responses.

After the North destroyed 4,800 units of computers and equipment at South Korea`s broadcasting and financial companies through the March 20, 2013 cyber terror attack, Seoul enacted a basic law on cyber security in November 2014 to take measures on a state level. Even though various bills on cyber terrorism have been introduced to the National Assembly, chances are slim that they will pass the parliament because of partisan differences over the power of the National Intelligence Service. Under the current system led by the spy agency, it is hard to fend off diversifying cyberattacks from the North. Seoul should accelerate the enactment of a cyber-security law to establish a pan-governmental response system.

It seems that Lim, a former dean of the Graduate School of Information Security at Korea University, made the brave confession about the government`s poor cyber responses under his scholarly conscience. The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae should dramatically strengthen the government`s cyber response capabilities at this opportunity. In order to defend against the North`s cyber terrorism, it is important to make new laws and establish a response system. More than anything else, the government should be strongly committed to retribution. Such weak responses as blocking the websites of North Korea`s state-run media would deliver no warning to Pyongyang.