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Twitter and the Tale of the Two Koreas

Thursday, August 19, 2010 | 11:08 AM Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s been nearly a week since North Korea purportedly launched its Twitter account “@uriminzok,” which, despite being viewed as another tool for propaganda, literally means “our people” in the native tongue.

On Monday afternoon the uriminzok page had 2,445 Twitter followers… a number that has nearly quadrupled since then, as the account has now racked in just under 9,000 followers.

Who won’t be included on that list?  South Korean citizens.

According to an article in BusinessWeek, “South Korea has decided to ask domestic Internet service providers to block South Korean citizens’ access to a North Korean Twitter Inc. account because it breaches the South’s national security laws.”

But the newly denied access should come as no surprise to most South Koreans, as the article goes on to mention that roughly 60 websites from the North have been restricted by the South’s government over the past few years, including a suspected YouTube page set up by the North back in July.

So you might be asking yourself: What’s all the hype and where’s the link to cybersecurity?

Well, not only is North Korea seen as the big hitter of suspected cyber attacks as of late, but also, in an article published yesterday by Bloomberg, cyber expert and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, James Lewis recalled the very reclusive nation’s capabilities of cyber war.

Noting the North’s reported military hacker unit, Lewis told Bloomberg that “the country could be using cyber skills, which it has been advancing for at least 15 years, for spying and spreading propaganda.”

Meanwhile, an op-ed in The Korea Times claims the North is abusing social networking, further asserting that the “dictatorial regime has imposed an information blackout on its people to tighten its hold on power.”  Regarding the latest social media mêlée, the op-ed calls North Korea’s move “tantamount to cyber terrorism.”

Additional cybersecurity news follows:

Camp trains future cybersecurity experts (NPR)

Cyberwar against Wikileaks? Good luck with that (Wired)

Intel acquires cybersecurity giant McAfee for $7.68 billion (NetworkWorld)

HP buying cybersecurity firm Fortify Software (AP)

Cyberattacks target Air Force apps (NextGov)

Googlopolis: An interview with Eric Schmidt (Foreign Policy)

Government, industry fall short in sharing cyber threat data (Government Computer News)

Who are these people who think cybersecurity experts are crying wolf? (NetworkWorld)

Cybersecurity tensions between public, private sector (InformationWeek)

Android snake ‘game’ hides GPS-tracking spyware (Forbes)

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