The Korea Herald


S. Korean financial firms still vulnerable to cyber attacks overseas

By Choi Jae-hee

Published : Oct. 5, 2020 - 15:40

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A string of hacking attempts to break into South Korea’s financial institutions from abroad have continued in recent years, data showed Monday, prompting calls for financial authorities to impose tougher security measures.

As of August, there have been a total of 37 hacking cases targeting local financial firms from overseas over the past five years, said Rep. Hong Sung-guk of the ruling Democratic Party, quoting data from the watchdog Financial Supervisory Service.

The majority of fraud cases involved DDos attacks, followed by financial information leakage and computer system errors. There has been two cases of malicious code infection, data showed. 

Earlier this year, the Korea Exchange and the nation’s two internet-only banks -- Kakao Bank and K Bank -- as well as online commerce giant 11st faced DDos attacks. A DDos attack disables computer systems by abruptly swamping them with massive traffic. GG Investment Management and Pepper Savings Bank also suffered from information overloads and email server crashes caused by malware attacks, respectively, he added. 

Cyber threats arose even during the three-day Chuseok holiday. DDos hackers reportedly tried to penetrate the electronic infrastructure of two commercial banks -- KEB Hana and Woori -- industry sources said. 

The damage from the recent global hacking attempts, however, turned out to be minimal, owing to financial firms’ risk management systems made to counter mouting cyberthreats that could possibly paralyze the nation’s financial infrastructure at a relatively small cost. 

“Cyber attacks not only pose challenges to financial circles, but also undermine consumer trust in electronic financial services. Local financial companies and financial authorities should work together to gear up preventive measures against hacking attempts abroad,” Hong said. 

Responding to rising concerns over cyber attacks in the financial sector, the regulator Financial Services Commission and related government agencies held a meeting to review domestic financial market conditions and countermeasures against potential DDos attacks, convened by FSC Chairman Eun Sung-soo. 

”Local financial companies, mobile-service operators, the FSC and the state-run Financial Security Institute worked together to respond swiftly to a spate of DDos attacks during the holiday period. As a result, the targeted firms could avoid service disruptions or financial damage,” the FSC said.
By Choi Jae-hee (