|Rep. Tae Yong-ho of the conservative main opposition People Power Party / Korea Times file|
By Kang Seung-woo
Rep. Tae Yong-ho of the conservative main opposition People Power Party (PPP) urged the government, Thursday, to review whether to allow employees of organizations dealing with important national secrets to work from home, claiming that their environments could be vulnerable to North Korea's cyber attacks.
"The increase in people working from home or working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic could be a golden opportunity for North Korea to extract confidential information from certain institutions," Tae wrote on Facebook.
His claim came after three major South Korean organizations fell victim to cyber attacks originating from North Korea in recent months. They include the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
The KAERI is a government-funded research institute in charge of developing nuclear technology, while KAI is the nation's sole aircraft manufacturer. DSME is a major shipbuilder specializing in the construction of submarines and other naval vessels.
Citing this recent series of hacking incidents, Tae, a former North Korean diplomat-turned-South Korean politician, said, "North Korean hackers are going all-out to steal the technology of our small nuclear reactors and missiles."
He added that some 6,000 hackers are attacking South Korean organizations every day in cyberspace.
The lawmaker also said that the separation of internal and external networks is imperative.
"These kinds of hacking incidents could have been prevented if the internal and external networks had been separated. However, some organizations are still connecting the two networks while staff are working at home," he said.
"Under the current circumstances, no matter how often passwords are changed and manpower and facilities are reinforced, North Korean hackers will penetrate their networks in the end."
Tae said that in North Korea, Pyongyang never allows the linking of internal and external networks at it most vital institutions. "Those who work for the foreign ministry or other organizations dealing with confidential information are not allowed to enter with their personal laptops or tablets."