South Korea Admitted to NATO Cyber Defense Center

South Korea has become the first Asian nation to join NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), in a move that will likely further stoke tensions with Moscow.

The country’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) made the announcement today, according to the local Yonhap News Agency.

Going forward, it will represent South Korea in the center’s training and research activities, according to the brief report.

“We plan to strengthen our cyber response capabilities to a world-class level by increasing the number of our staff sent to the center and expanding the scope of joint training,” the NIS is reported to have said.

The latest entrant to the CCDCOE brings the total number of members to 32, including 27 full NATO members.

The center was initially set up in 2008 following a series of crippling cyberattacks in Estonia traced back to the Kremlin. It serves as a knowledge hub, research institution, and training facility focused on interdisciplinary applied research, consulting, and exercises in cybersecurity.

Over the years, it has become an important part of the NATO effort to combat disinformation and malicious cyber-activity from the East.

The move by South Korea will be met with anger in Moscow following a vote by the CCDCOE in March to admit Ukraine as a “contributing participant” alongside other non-NATO countries such as Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and now South Korea.

“Ukraine, in fact being a testing ground for the use of cyber-tools for malicious purposes, has the unique practical experience in neutralizing cyber-attacks that may be useful to partner countries. We continue to build national cybersecurity capacity, strengthen and enhance our legislation,” said Ukrainian ambassador Mariana Betsa on a visit to the Tallin-based center last month. Read more: https://bit.ly/3MTTmXR

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