The South Korean military plans to establish a new team in charge of cyber operations under the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as part of efforts to boost its cyber warfare capabilities, officers said Tuesday.
The new department "will set sail in January to take charge of the country's military operations online," a JCS officer said, requesting anonymity.
It is in accordance with the government's recent decision to entitle the JCS chairman to fully control the Military Cyber Command in an effort to proactively cope with cyber attacks.
In the wake of growing security threats online, South Korea has decided to drop its long-held defensive tactics in cyber warfare and instead initiate proactive operations to better guard against enemies' online infiltrations.
"It is our judgment that cyber warfare has become real, not a virtual one," said the JCS officer. "We need to detect signs of cyber attacks in advance and deter them."
South Korea also plans to boost cooperation with the United States in the field, according to military officers.
"The allies are scheduled to conduct the tabletop exercise, known as TTX, in around February next year to boost their joint preparedness posture against online threats," another JCS officer said.
With the aim of carrying out cyber warfare effectively, South Korea plans to develop the weapon system and beef up human resources at the cyber command from the current 600 to 1,000, he added.
Last month, Seoul also announced its plan to build a new independent complex in central Seoul to house the command by around 2016 to better conduct cyber warfare and carry out relevant research and development.
North Korea is known to have some 1,700 experts and 4,200 supportive members for hacking and other cyber provocations.
For the first nine months of this year, South Korea has seen an increasing number of cyber attacks: 1,202 hacking attempts, up 595 cases from a year earlier, according to government data. (Yonhap)