North Korea last year hacked 15 million pages worth of top-secret military documents, including detailed plans of decapitation operations against top North Korean leaders, it belatedly emerged Monday. The hackers got hold of copies of OPLAN 5015, part of South Korea-U.S. combined operations in a full-scale war between the two Koreas, which was worked out in 2015.
The revelation is shocking and raises serious questions about the competence of the military. Although the Defense Ministry denies it, top secret South Korean files may be sitting on Kim Jong-un's desk right now. Sensitive information the U.S. government shared with Seoul military was also compromised. It has become evident that the Defense Ministry is incapable of protecting any secret information the country's ally shared with it. The U.S. is especially wary of its military secrets falling into enemy hands.
The ministry initially denied that any top-secret military information leaked out. It is unbelievable that it took Defense Minister Song Young-moo two months since his appointment to detect this grave security breach that his predecessor tried to sweep under the table. A probe has now resulted in disciplinary punishment of 26 officials, including the head of the cyber defense command. If the same thing happened in North Korea they would all have been put in front of a firing squad, but here in South Korea such embarrassing lapses are swept under the carpet and forgotten about.
If Minjoo Party lawmaker Rhee Cheol-hee had not discovered the lapse under a freedom-of-information request, the officials would have only been given a mild rebuke.
This is not the first time the military has fallen victims to North Korean hackers, and each time it was due to ridiculous security lapses. Officers are just too negligent in doing their job and simply rely on the U.S. for the country's defense. There is no other way to explain this.
High-ranking officers apparently have no plans to revise OPLAN 5015 even though North Korea now knows all about it. The North can now craft new attack strategies based on the plan. It makes a mockery of the whole concept of having a secret plan in the first place.
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