South Korea's defense ministry will establish a new department to oversee cyber deterrence policies and prepare information security measures to better deal with the emerging form of threats, a senior military official said Tuesday.The South Korean military launched the Cyber Command in early 2010 to handle cyber security issues along with different military and intelligence organizations, but there is no control tower to integrate the policies and strategies that defend military networks.
The ministry plans to launch the cyber team within the first half of this year, which will be tasked with developing defensive cyber warfare methods and recruiting more forces to carry out cyber space operations, the official said.
"Although the South Korean military makes its cyber policy, they could cooperate with the U.S. if needed," the official said, asking for anonymity. "The department's top priority will be developing defense cyber warfare weapons to protect military networks that are subject to enemy's attacks."
The ministry had earlier said it plans to gradually increase the size of Cyber Command to over 1,000 people.
The move is a follow-up measure for the ministry's pledge to expand cyber warfare forces and develop various deterrence scenarios to better deal with emerging threats in light of massive attacks on the Web sites of major broadcasters and banks earlier this month.
The identity of the person or group behind the attacks is still under investigation, but military officials had speculated about possible links with North Korea, as it has repeatedly threatened to launch various attacks on Seoul in light of annual joint drills with the U.S. and new sanctions for its nuclear test.
Pyongyang is known to be running a cyber warfare unit composed of 3,000 elite hackers who are trained to break into other computer networks for information and spread computer viruses.