By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) — The government on Thursday unveiled a National Cybersecurity Strategy calling for strengthening the country’s offensive cyber defense operations and building cooperation mechanisms with the international community while keeping a focus on North Korea’s cyberthreats.
The 35-page strategy was drawn up jointly by the presidential Office of National Security, the National Intelligence Service, the ministries of foreign affairs, national defense, and science and ICT, and the National Police Agency to serve as the authoritative guideline on cybersecurity issues.
“North Korea is continuing to conduct illegal cyber activities to fund its nuclear weapons and missile development, including through cryptocurrency theft,” President Yoon Suk Yeol wrote in the preface, before listing the threat posed by hacking organizations around the world using sophisticated cyber means to steal state secrets and advanced technologies.
“Based on this strategy, our government will respond preemptively to cybersecurity threats and strengthen our cyber capabilities and resilience to safely protect the Republic of Korea,” he wrote.
“Moreover, we will contribute to peace and prosperity in the international community while strengthening cybersecurity cooperation with friendly nations that share with us the rules and values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law,” he added.
The vision presented by the strategy is to become “a global pivotal state that fulfills its international role and responsibility while defending the values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law in cyber space.”
To fulfill that vision, the strategy calls for implementing five key tasks — strengthening offensive cyber defense operations, building global cooperation mechanisms, strengthening the cyber resilience of key state infrastructure, securing a lead in the competition for emerging technologies, and strengthening the nation’s integrated response capability.
“In order to effectively respond to the malicious cyber activities of threat agents, including North Korea, such as the theft of secrets, dissemination of fake news and other false information, and cryptocurrency theft, simply reinforcing our defense capabilities has its limits,” the paper said.
“Therefore, we must change our paradigm to respond offensively to North Korea and other threats and thus upgrade the level of our cybersecurity.”
The authors noted the first National Cybersecurity Strategy was released in 2019 but lacked the policy to “look squarely” at North Korea’s cyberthreats, “the biggest actual threat” to South Korea, among other things.
The 2019 edition was authored during the previous administration of President Moon Jae-in, who promoted reconciliation with North Korea as a means to achieve denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.