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Presidential cyber security secretary mulled

The government is considering instituting a cyber security secretary in the presidential office of national security following Wednesday’s hacking attacks on broadcasters and banks, ruling party officials said Sunday.

After the attacks, calls surged for the government to create a control tower dedicated to handling the new threat, which North Korea appears increasingly keen to use to disrupt or damage South Korean society and economy.

“As the country’s systems to counter cyber terror are scattered throughout government bodies such as the National Intelligence Service and the National Police Agency, there has been criticism for their inefficiency,” said one official of the Saenuri Party on condition of anonymity.

“To address it, there will be measures to be crafted.”

Amid such calls for a rapid, coordinated response to cyber attacks, the NIS has sought to revise cyber security laws for swifter inter-agency consultation. It also seeks to institute a vice-ministerial national cyber security meeting where related ministries discuss key issues.

Seoul and Washington have stepped up their cooperation as Pyongyang has launched a series of cyber attacks that crippled a number of major government and business websites.

The North has used electromagnetic waves to jam satellite traffic navigation signals in the South in recent years. It also launched a distributed denial of service attack to paralyze the banking system of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation for several weeks in 2011.

Under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, the North’s premier intelligence body, the communist state is said to be running a special elite unit consisting of thousands of cyber, electronic warfare experts.

The North has focused its military attention on developing asymmetrical warfare tactics, including cyber capabilities, as it can cause massive damage to its enemy at low cost, experts said.

By Song Sang-ho  (