The U.S. and South Korea announced that the two nations will begin working together to implement stronger cybersecurity strategies.
President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye announced the partnership at a joint press conference during South Korean President Park Geun-hye's Washington visit last week. Obama said the U.S. and South Korea are “stepping up our efforts to strengthen our cyber defenses and coordinating at the highest levels” to ensure the two countries are in sync in addressing cyber threats to the two countries.
“In the cyber world too, in order to enhance common response capabilities against cyber-attacks, we've agreed to establish a hotline between the White House and the Blue House for cyber cooperation,” Park said.
The cyber partnership is large the result of North Korean cyber attacks against the U.S. and South Korea. Last month, for example, a South Korean intelligence agency said the North Korean government may have coordinated a hack of the Seoul Metro in 2014.
Last year, following a hack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, the FBI concluded that the North Korean government launched the cyber attack.
Following the FBI announcement, North Korea threatened the U.S. with continued cyber attacks against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole US mainland.”
During Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to South Korea in May, Kerry announced that the U.S. and South Korea were "deepening cooperation on a range of new frontiers that will help define the 21st century, including science and technology, space exploration, cyber issues”.
Earlier this month, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a provision that calls on President Obama to develop a cyberstrategy to combat North Korean hackers. The provision is part of the North Korean Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, legislation that would sanction North Korean party officials for the country's cyber-activities, nuclear program, and human rights abuses.
“The new sanctions within this legislation would apply the pressure required to change North Korea's behavior, and would mandate that the United States finally have a unified strategy for dealing with North Korean cyber attacks," Sen. Cory Gardner said in a statement. “We can't go any longer without a serious plan to deal with this threat. It's time to get serious.” Gardner is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.