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Seoul looks to enhance protection of military technologies against cyber attacks

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has outlined a requirement for local defence companies to boost cyber-defence capabilities and protect indigenous military technologies.

DAPA said on 11 January that the effort will be channelled through a new ‘cyber-security diagnosis project’ that will assess local defence firms’ vulnerabilities to risks including hacking and other cyber attacks.

The initiative is required, said DAPA, because the “threat from hackers targeting the data of defence companies is increasing due to the technology capability improvements [of hackers] and the increase in use of online communications due to Covid-19”.

It added, “Through this project [DAPA aims to] identify and remove vulnerabilities”.

DAPA said it will select 10 local defence companies for the risk-analysis project – two large companies and eight small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Following the project, DAPA said it aims to implement cross-sector measures to address cyber-related risks from March.

Kang Eun-ho, DAPA’s minister, said, “The cyber project will serve as an opportunity to raise the level of technology protection of Korean defence companies.”

The initiative follows DAPA’s implementation in 2020 of a “defence industry technology protection plan” aimed at strengthening controls to protect the country’s indigenous military technologies.

DAPA said the plan seeks to provide it with a better understanding of potential technology risks within the country’s defence industrial base and is intended to introduce tougher punishments for personnel who leak defence technologies to overseas parties.

In 2019 DAPA also sought to strengthen the protection of military technology intellectual property (IP).

The ‘guidelines for the management of IP rights’ are intended to stimulate closer technology partnerships between DAPA and local SMEs and support better protection of the firms’ IP.

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