January 26, 2023
Soul – South Korea and China appear poised for renewed clashes over what South Korean officials believe are Chinese cyberattacks against multiple local academic institutions. This has been fueled by a possible resurgence of recent tensions, fueled by a back-and-forth visa battle over tougher COVID travel restrictions. .
Police launched a formal investigation on Wednesday into a hack that disrupted access to the websites of at least a dozen academic organizations, police officials said.
The same day, a Seoul-based state-run cybersecurity think tank found that Chinese hackers were involved in the latest breach. It said it was finding remaining “security holes” that needed urgent attention.
Xiaoqiying, the Chinese group that claimed responsibility for the attack, said on Telegram that it hacked into 79 websites and threatened to release personal data from them, but police have yet to confirm the claim. The group was openly anti-Korean and said it would target 2,000 websites run by the South Korean government. The hackers categorically deny any ties to the Chinese government.
A South Korean government official familiar with the matter said all the websites hacked during the holiday were run by organizations too small to have the necessary security systems to thwart outside attacks.
“The hackers knew where to put pressure and didn’t appear to be making any financial gain, but that’s something the police should be looking at,” the official said, adding that the hackers He pointed out that he seemed to have intended to “show off” his cyber skills.
The cyber attack comes amid strained relations between Seoul and Beijing. Two weeks ago, China enforced stricter visa rules for South Koreans after Seoul imposed a short-term visa ban on Chinese travelers to prevent spillovers from the COVID crisis. Beijing, which has eased some rules for South Koreans on informal business, has described the response as a “countermeasure” and downplayed concerns about “further retaliation.”
Given the lack of evidence, it is premature to tie cyber breaches to Chinese authorities. But the animosity between the two countries is now much deeper, and that alone calls for a thorough scrutiny of the relationship, said Jeong Jae-hoon, director of the Center for China Studies at the Sejong Institute.
The Indo-Pacific strategy that South Korea unveiled last year promises to expand from this year, Chung said.
“This policy embodies everything that China finds offensive, but we are twisting it,” Chung said, noting that South Korea would use it for greater global influence. Analysts see the plan as an effort to rebuild the world order alongside the United States, which South Korea’s biggest ally and rival China is trying to overtake. ing.