Global cooperation necessary for cyber security
Korea, the most wired country, is also the most hacked nation in the world. Regulators and portal sites have been sloppy and are useless in cyber security.
Hackers infiltrated the personal details of 35 million people Tuesday, over 70 percent of all South Koreans. It was the biggest incident in Korea, exposing users of popular Internet and social media sites Nate and Cyworld to potential crimes, including voice- and message-phishing, banking fraud as well as email spam.
Despite the purported high-powered encryption of the personal information, Internet users are at a loss of what to do, except for changing their password to protect their privacy and financial transactions. But hackers can decode them.
The horrible thing is that hackers obtained telephone numbers, resident registration numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, and even blood types of almost 75 percent of the Korean people. If the recent series of cyber thefts is added, it may not be an exaggeration to say hackers can look at the personal information of almost every citizen. Hackers can read short messages, emails, and the location of almost all citizens as they got away with personal information of customers of Auction, GS Caltex and Shinsegae Mall.
An apology is not enough for Nate ― the third largest portal site and Cyworld, the largest social networking site in Korea.
SK Comms, the operator of the two sites, says that hackers used the Internet protocol addresses in China, the Web equivalent of a street address or phone number.
Regulators and police are investigating.
Korea can no longer boast that it is an IT powerhouse. Korea has become a hacked society.
A series of court rulings has been lenient in response to collective lawsuits. The leniency has frustrated Internet users and made Internet-site operators lazy in beefing up online security.
The government-backed NH Bank was paralyzed for weeks following a hacking purportedly by North Korea. Hackers stole data on Hyundai Capital's 1.8 million customers. Outsiders also attacked the online sites of even government sites, the National Assembly, the military headquarters and networks of the U.S. Forces in Korea.
A series of hacking incidents has brewed distrust in the government. The government has become a Monday-morning quarterback in beefing up cyber security. Whenever a hacking took place, the government announced a cyber security plan.
Hacking is prevalent worldwide. It is hard to trace who perpetrates cyber crimes. Citizens puzzle why massive hacking occurs so often in Korea. The attacks have an enormous psychological impact on Internet users. Hackers change the behavior of visitors to cyberspace. Korea has become a new Orwellian society where outsiders peek at the private life of citizens.
Internet users are nervous that outsiders may peep at their private life. Spies could use the personal data to harass and assassinate leaders.
Like military attacks, hackers are enemies and terrorists who incite social disturbances and instability. Korea badly needs international cooperation for cyber security.