South Korea joins NATO cyber defense — Analysis

The Republic of Korea has become the first Asian state to be admitted to the military alliance’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence

South Korea has become the first Asian member state of NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE), the country’s Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.

In a statement cited by the media outlet, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) said it plans to “Our cyber-response capabilities will be enhanced to world-class levels by increasing our staff and expanding joint training.

South Korea’s accession to the CCDCOE has brought the number of members to 32, with 27 being NATO states, referred to as sponsoring nations. Korea, the four other members of the military bloc and three others are contributors.

According to the NIS, it applied to join the CCDCOE back in 2019, and has participated in the center’s activities since then, including the Locked Shields cyber defense exercise for two consecutive years since 2020.

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Commenting on its admittance to the group, Seoul’s intelligence agency noted that “Cyber-threats are not only causing severe damage to individuals, but also to nations apart and transnationally.” which makes “International cooperation is essential” crucial.

Based in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, the CCDCOE was founded back in 2008 in response to a 2007 massive cyberattack on Estonia’s state networks – something the country’s authorities were quick to blame on Russia. Tallinn’s officials eventually admitted they did not have enough evidence to prove the Kremlin.

On its website, the CCDCOE says its mission is to “Our member countries and NATO can rely on us to provide unique, inter-disciplinary expertise in cyber defense research, training, and exercises that cover the key areas of strategy, law, and technology.” The group is committed to “Fostering cooperation between like-minded countries” both “Allies and allies from NATO as well as partners outside the Alliance.

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