By Lee Tae-hoon
North Korea has attempted to hack the websites of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and its affiliates 41 times this year alone, up from 11 last year, a lawmaker of the ruling party said Tuesday.
“A report obtained from the ministry’s Welfare and Family Cyber Security Center (WFCSC) reveals that the government confirmed hacking attempts by those using IP addresses related to North Korea,” Yoon Seok-yong of the Grand National Party (GNP) said.
The lawmaker claimed that the number of North's hacking attempts on the National Pension Service (NPS) sharply increased from seven in 2010 to 24 so far this year; from none to five for the National Health Insurance Corp (NHIC); and from two to six for the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service and WFCSC.
Yoon claimed that a failure to block the North’s infiltration into the network of these state organizations provides the cash-strapped regime with vital information on how to manage large funds and thus make large profits in the financial market here.
The NPS is the country’s largest investor with an estimated 340 trillion won ($297 billion) worth of assets under its management.
The lawmaker also pointed out that the total number of hacking attempts against the health ministry and organizations under its wings jumped over six-fold from 3,349 in 2009 to 17,091 last year.
Citing data provided by the ministry, Yoon said the number has already reached 14,669 in the first half of this year.
“Once the network of the health and welfare ministry is breached, the hackers will have access to all the personal information of each and every one of our citizens,” he said.
The GNP lawmaker also contended that a breach of information on the people’s health through a successful hacking attempt at NHIC would make the South more vulnerable to the North’s chemical attacks as this would allow the communist regime to learn what diseases and chemicals South Koreans are most vulnerable to.