Tag Archives: South Korea

Spear Phishing Attacks South Korea

In March of this year, a  cyber attack wiped out many banks and broadcasters in South Korea. Specifically concerning about this attack was the fact that many members of the Shinhan banking network were targeted using what is known as spear phishing. Spear phishing requires prior knowledge about a specific person or group of people to be targeted and hackers send phishing e-mails to these specific people. The look-alike pages used in phishing and spear phishing can be especially worrisome due to the fact that people put their trust in a company and may blindly follow commands upon asked to change their password or something of the like.

This cyber attack was well-planned according to researchers in that hackers gained access to the organization’s computers eight months prior, monitoring the activities inside the server. Finally, malware was distributed to computers, wiping out much of the data.

These attacks are of an extremely serious nature. They allow for high return for the hacker with little traceability or chance for getting caught. The introduction of AttackKits allows for less knowledgeable hackers to conduct attacks on larger scales than otherwise possible.

Spear phishing to large organizations, or even vulnerable populations, can on any scale have detrimental effects. The freedom of the internet and the anonymity behind it has spiraled into a world of its own, allowing large amounts of data to be stolen or wiped out without even having to leave the house. This begs the question on how to protect against cyber attacks. Nation-wide implementation of cyber security should be a main priority, as cyber attacks could potentially wipe out essential information and infrastructure, leaving it at a standstill and having to start from ground zero. Policies must begin to be more stringent in this manner.

Read the article about South Korea here and here.



Facebook vs Asia’s Top Social Networks

Social media and social networking have grown increasingly in number within recent years. The front-runner in the social networking world is Facebook. Most people you know probably has a Facebook account and continuously update their statuses and communicate with their friends from all over the world.  With its current trend, Facebook is project to grow at exponential rate to over-take many other popular social media platform in other countries. Facebook is now internationally used, even in countries that block the social networking site. However, users still manages to over-ride this restriction by the government. Countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China have a large population of social media users. China has RenRen, South Korea has Cyworld, Japan has Mixi, and the US has Facebook, but it is projected that Facebook will soon take over the realm of social media in these countries and cause a decrease in those already existing social media websites. However, for Facebook to be widely adapted in these countries, mobile usage function and a user-friendly platform are needed.

A prime example, in South Korea the incumbent, long-running largest social network, has been seeing massive user migration to Facebook. Just in February 2012 alone, there was a 52.4% user reversal. For a foreign company and social networking site fairly new to South Korea, currently 1 out of every 5 Koreans are on Facebook and the 10 million users benchmark had been reached. Cyworld has been around for over 10 years in Korea through SK Telecom, the number one Korean mobile carrier with 52% of the market share. Cyworld could be said to have invited the Virtual Good market in South Korean with over 90% of the entire Korean population being active on the site. It is surprising that Cyworld is currently losing users to Facebook, a foreign company. South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and known to utilize “home grown” entities, it is interesting how Facebook has garnered so many users. This could be due to the widespread usage of smart-phones, such as iPhones, where Facebook is already built into the system. Perhaps, it is the international widespread appeal that lead South Koreans to switch over to Facebook, but one things is certain it trend is here to stay. There are now many functions on Facebook that enables its international expansion, such as language settings where Facebook can be displayed in a wide array of languages. Facebook isn’t just making wave in South Korea, but other technology giants in the world. I do believe that as Facebook expand in users, it will soon over shadow these foreign social networking sites in those countries like it did to Myspace in the US.

More information can be seen HERE.

Cases Across Asia

Cases across Asia:

1) Too much control:

Google has been released world-wide, available to every country- except China. Unlike Google plus, which had been terminated by tireless government blocking. Although there are drives equivalent to Google available, such as: Baidu’s WangPan or Shanda’s Everbox, the citizens of China had no voice in the decision. Yet again, China’s rulers have made a choice to keep certain information out of reach.

“Today in international tech news: Google Drive is “dead in the water” in China. Meanwhile, a soap opera is unfolding in South Korea, where there’s a feud between the chairman of Samsung and family members who want a bigger piece of the company’s fortune. Elsewhere, Twitter plays a central, and unfortunate, role in an English court case.”(Google Drive Hits China’s Wall)

2) What happened to restrictions?

“The victim of a 2011 rape had her identity divulged both on Twitter and on a television broadcast that displayed a Twitter feed as part of its coverage, according to The Guardian” (Twitter Overshares).

The newspaper released this statement, “”In our coverage last night we very briefly revealed the victim’s name despite heavy redaction, and if watching in real-time viewers would not have noticed,” said a Sky News spokeswoman. “We would, however, like to apologize to the victim and her family for any distress caused.””

The two cases, while unrelated, bring up the issue of security- how much is too much or not enough?

The move towards 5G?

“Ask any cell phone expert and they will tell you that it takes a long time for significant new technologies to be developed to a level at which they are ready for market. The development of both 2G and 3G took about 10 years respectively before they became standardized” says Rosette Summer (1). 3G and 4G networks have recently been released world wide, when will the next stage come?

Currently no development projects for a 5G network have made progress. There is a general skepticism about the reliability and achieve-ability of a 5G network. “New mobile generations are invariably assigned additional frequency bands and a wider spectral bandwidth for each channel. Skeptics argue that there is simply no room to accommodate this in the current infrastructure” (1).  The latest generations of technologies each require frequency bands and wider spectral bandwidths per channel. Many people doubt the actual potential to incorporate these networks into the existing system.

However, in 2008 South Korea proposed $58 million towards the creation of 4G and 5G technology. By 2012 they aimed to create the largest “mobile phone share in the market”. Since the release of 4G, it has been unclear whether they are still pursuing a 5G network. In order to  provide speed for uploads and downloads Korea needs to drastically improve “peak bitrates”. A Bitrate is “the number of bits that are conveyed or processed per unit of time” (3). Basically, bits per second tells you how fast the connection is. An upgrade from 3 to 4G means an increase in the peak bitrate. Additional upgrades improve speed and download quality.

“4G typically peaks at 10Mbps downstream for WiMAX (and Korea’s variant WiBro) and 100Mbps for Long Term Evolution (LTE), each of which allows for real-time full quality Internet video over the air as well as online action games and other actions that depend on low lag and high speed” (2). Many believe that the actual benefits of an upgrade in this system will be too similar to 4G. With more information on 5G one can say whether or not people will integrate it, but more needs to be offered than a slight speed improvement.

One other improvement could be a cleaner way to charge users for bandwidth. South Korea has until the end of 2012 to meet their goal of a 5G network. Altogether, small improvements throughout many aspects of the technology could result in an increase in the quality and value.


1. http://www.ashchuan.com/blog/2011/12/28/5g-wireless-the-next-frontier-in-internet-technology/

2. http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/5G-Wireless-Dont-Get-Your-Hopes-Up-102932

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_rate