The United States, South Korea, and Japan are joining forces to establish a high-level consultative body focused on addressing North Korea’s cyber activities, with the primary aim of strengthening their collective response to global cyber threats. This initiative, announced by the office of South Korea’s president, involves quarterly meetings to enhance their practical capabilities in tackling these threats.
One of the key objectives of this partnership is to develop measures that can block cyber activities used as a significant source of funds for North Korea’s weapons development, including nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to the trilateral cooperation, a senior South Korean national security official has engaged with an Australian counterpart to form a bilateral working group, focusing on identifying common threats and coordinating responses.
This collaborative effort comes after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation attributed several recent cyberattacks targeting cryptocurrency platforms to a threat actor believed to have North Korean government sponsorship. These attacks, including a $100 million hack of Harmony’s Horizon bridge and a $600 million hack of Sky Mavis’ Ronin Bridge, underline the growing concern surrounding North Korea’s involvement in cybercrime, particularly in the cryptocurrency sector.
The rise in cyber threats, not only from North Korea but also from China, has prompted liberal democracies in the Pacific to intensify their cyber cooperation. In line with this, the Biden administration introduced the Quad Cybersecurity Partnership, involving the United States, India, Japan, and Australia, to collaborate on initiatives related to enhancing software security, fortifying supply chains, and safeguarding user data.
However, this multilateral approach has faced criticism from Chinese officials who perceive it as an effort to stoke geopolitical rivalry and create an “Indo-Pacific NATO”.