Sunday, September 18, 2011

Korean blitz : all bases loaded

The major blackout Korea just experienced may be the consequence of a hacking of KEPCO earlier this year. It also could be due to a simple bug.

I can't help but believe in the first scenario, which would cast yet another unsettling cloud over the country and its security.

Over the past few months, Korea has proven embarrassing vulnerabilities in strategic areas :
- conventional warfare : military / organizational fiascos following North Korean attacks (ie Yeonpyeong)
- hackings / suspicious blackouts at the core of vital networks : financial (ie banks), media / internet, air traffic, and now electricity...

So regardless of who is responsible here (incompetence) or there (most fingers pointing at North Korea or China), a malicious organization could completely incapacitate Korea within minutes without using any conventional weapon. Even if the aim is not an invasion per se (nor even a diversion preceding an invasion of say North Korea), this would definitely damage the reputation of Korea as an economic powerhouse.

With its drive, infrastructures and talents, Korea should be ahead of Israel in national security. KISA (Korea Information Security Agency) significantly improved its visibility, but the national culture remains focused on hardware.

Samsung has eventually understood it needed to evolve and change business models, but it took series of obvious wake up calls (ie Google wolfing down Motorola). The government will probably follow suit. And if spurs are needed, the potential candidacy of Ahn Cheol-soo at the 2012 presidential elections might help : the founder of antivirus specialist AhnLab has some credentials in the area.

Seoul Village 2011
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