South Korea warns of increased ransomware attacks



Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in South Korea over the past year, paralyzing hospitals and shopping malls amid the COVID-19 pandemic leading to an increase in online shopping activities.

On June 3, a large plastic surgery hospital in the south of Seoul announced on its website that its server had been attacked with ransomware and that hackers appeared to have stolen patient's personal data.  This is the latest in a series of recently reported ransomware attacks - a tactic used by cybercriminals to infiltrate businesses' systems and use their data to demand ransom.  

South Korea warns of increased ransomware attacks

South Korea warns of increased ransomware attacks / ph: pezels

According to the South Korean Ministry of Science and Information Technology, last year there were 127 ransomware attacks, a threefold increase from the previous year.  Since the beginning of this year, the country has recorded 65 attacks with ransomware.

Ransomware attacks have targeted various businesses in South Korea.  Last month, food delivery company Super Hero's operations were paralyzed for hours after an attack that affected 15,000 delivery workers nationwide.  Last November, local retail and fashion group E-Land was also "inquired" by hackers, forcing 23 of the 50 branches of the NC Department Store and NewCore Outlet to suspend operations.

Kim Seung-joo, a professor of cybersecurity at Korea University, said that in the context of companies being forced to choose to increase their reliance on remote working during the pandemic, ransomware attacks have become a bigger threat because they can paralyze the entire working system. This has led to many companies paying a ransom and has led hackers to carry out more attacks.  He urged companies to invest in cybersecurity to prevent the threat in the first place.

In response to ransomware attacks in the near future, last month, the Korean Ministry of Information and Communications Technology set up a 24-hour monitoring group to support hacked companies. The government is now providing assistance to affected companies in system recovery.

South Korea warns of increased ransomware attacks

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