South Korea Hires i0n1c for ‘BoB’ Program to Tackle Cyber Attacks from North

By on January 14, 2013

South Korean government is going to introduce their ‘Best of the Best Program’ (aka Bob Program) for just to train some of their brightest code-breaking minds which will make them able to tackle cyber crimes/attacks. Recently Seoul blamed North Korea for being involved in multiple cyber attacks to hack their systems. For this purpose, South Korean has hired more than 60 world’s renowned computer hackers to come with their keyboards in a room filled with powerful computers, excitedly typing in code most of us could never understand. Why?

Just to “break in” to virtual servers in a simulated world. All Hackers participating in Seoul’s “BoB Program” would further train many students of South Korea on how to tackle cyber attacks and cyber crimes. And surprisingly enough, i0n1c (Stefan Esser) a famous iOS hacker and jailbreaker, is one of the participants of BoB program from South Korea, according to one of i0n1c’s recent tweets.

BoB Program-South Korea- i0n1c

They are taking part in a six-month program organized by the South Korean government to train some of the brightest code-breaking minds to become the nation’s first line of defense in the war against cyber crime.

According to the Korea Information Technology Research Institute (KITRI), the “Best of the Best” program is designed to train computer experts to defend against domestic and foreign cyber attacks.

Notably, South Korea smiles in the list of the most Internet-connected nations in the world, but the country has faced frequent cyber attacks, especially from its northern neighbor, with whom it is still engaged in a war.

You would be surprised on learning that South Korea was bombarded under multiple cyber attacks in 2009 in which various country’s government websites, including the presidential Blue House and National Assembly were taken down for days after being targeted with malicious code.

Again in 2011, Korean’s national bank’s entire computer system was hacked and shut down. The attack was responsible for damaging thousands of computers with infected codes full of virus.

Now the Seoul has decided to deal these cyber attacks on their computer world with iron hands and suitable strategy. BoB program is the part of their strategy to overcome malicious viruses and cyber attacks on their systems.

The Seoul government pointed the finger at Pyongyang, citing similarities in code used in earlier cyber attacks by South Korean nationals in collaboration with hackers believed to be connected with a North Korean intelligence agency, South Korea’s prosecutor’s office said in a press release.

However, there is no response recorded by the North Korean government yet over these claims of cyber attacks from Seoul.

Though, no one can estimate the exact value of damage by the attacks on South Korean’s sites, but the Hyundai Research Institute believes that the financial loss from the 2009 cyber attacks alone at between $33.7-50.5 million.

Attacks on sites from domestic and foreign sources are on the increase, authorities claim. The rate of cyber attacks has increased by 37% from 2008 to 2011, according to Korea Internet Security Agency.

Jung Soo-whan from South Korea’s Soongsil University told CNN

“Cyber attacks in general are getting more and more complicated. It is also known that North Korea is training highly skilled hackers”.

“But what if they, for instance, hack into our nuclear power systems? We need a stronger defense system.”

According to Lee Seung-jin, the chief consultant for the “Best of the Best” program, a cyber attack from the North is a big technical war and their country seems unable to counter these attacks at present.

“The South Korean Internet industry developed very fast. It is essential to train cyber security experts in all fields including those who will be working for commercial companies,” said Lee, a prominent name in the South Korean hackers community.”

Sixty computer experts and hackers, from high school students to college students, have been already selected as the trainers of the program. Most hackers are already globally recognized not only in the country and some are award-winning hackers from local and foreign hacker competitions just like i0n1c.

Kwon Hyuk, 17, a survivor of the first phase of candidates on the program. He would focus on hacking the printer networking systems, an area effortlessly uncovered by cyber attacks.

“Companies may print confidential documents using network printers. If the security was breached, companies potentially could be eavesdropped,” he said.

The BoB program, which is now for 20 hackers, will only train one expert from six fields in its final stage.

Besides massive 20,000,000 KRW ($18,500) as a prize, each graduate will then be recommended to companies or government agencies to work with in future.

The six fields in which experts would be grown include digital forensic, security consulting, vulnerability analysis, mobile phone security, converged security and cloud-computing security.

Source: CNN

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