Annoying Things About Korea #9: How Can Intelligence and Security Be Issues?

Korea Hit By 2nd Wave of Cyber-Attacks: HUH?
Here are some headlines on the internet over the past couple of days:

  • South Korea’s Internet To Be 200 Times Faster Than In U.S. (Huffington Post)
  • Can Korea Nurture Its Own Mark Zuckerberg? (Chosun Ilbo)
  • 24.8% of Korea Uses IE 6.0 (Current Version is Now IE 8.0 and Version 9.0 is in beta)
  • S.Korea websites hit by fresh cyber attack (

Does anyone else see the oddity of this combination of headlines?  On one hand, Korea has the technology and the aspirations to be dream of becoming a global leader with respect to technology.  Certainly, its citizens are well-educated enough to suggest that someone, somewhere could do just that  (the barriers to that creation will be addressed in a future post).  On the other hand, the Korea uses a version of Internet Explorer that has been obsolete for years?   Does anyone even remember when IE 6.0 came out?  And now, the Korean government’s internet sites are not hacked once, but twice within 48 hours?

Unfortunately, This Exists Frequently in Korea
The reason that this is an Annoying Thing About Korea is the fact that Korea, at times, has inconsistencies in its national priorities. While on one hand, it is quite advanced (average GDP per citizen) and one of the largest amount of foreign exchange reserves in the world, there is very little in terms of social services for the poor or the unemployed. In addition, much of the Korean population doesn’t have faith in the Korean national pension system.
Despite its technological prowess, even the national intelligence agency has faltered embarrassingly, in full public view. It would be correct to suggest that the lack of high-quality intelligence was one large reason that the Cheonan tragedy occurred. The Seoul Gyopo Guide has pointed out that many aspects of its antiquated social/legal structure are out of sync with Korea’s rise amongst the league of nations.

On The Other Hand….
That said, these annoyances are “high-quality” problems. They exist because expectations have been raised, and because Korea’s rise has been, in one word, astonishing. It would be unrealistic for all of the pieces to be perfectly in place. We can, however, continue to point these things out, in order to improve.