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Defense Ministry to ban smart phone use inside its office for data security

The Defense Ministry plans to ban its staff from using smartphones, except for calling and texting, within its main building in an effort to prevent any leaks of military secrets.

Visitors will also be required to leave their smartphones at the entrance, officials said Wednesday.

The measures are taken as the ministry is proceeding with a 8.3 trillion ($7.3 million) project to introduce advanced fighter jets. Two military officials are under investigation on charges of leaking classified data related to other major arms procurement businesses.

Under the plan ministry officials have to install a special application that paralyzes all smartphone functions except calling and texting within the ministry complex.

The restriction will be implemented on a trial basis from July 15. The ministry will determine later on whether to expand it to other military services after evaluating its effectiveness.

“It is a routine, preventive step to increase security. It has been planned and prepared since last October,” a ministry spokesman said.

The Korean government has been stepping up efforts to defend against increasing cyber attacks. Most recently, hackers broke into the websites of at least 16 government agencies, political parties and other organizations, including the Cheong Wa Dae homepage, last Tuesday, the 63rd anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. 

By Jeong Hunny