Is Our Military Up to the Job of Protecting the Country?

The Monthly Chosun reports that a portion of a classified allied military plan code-named OPLAN 5027 has been accessed by hackers using a Chinese IP address. OPLAN 5027 is a highly-classified military plan detailing troop deployment, strategic targets in North Korea, plans of attack and amphibious landing scenarios in case of a war with North Korea and even contains information on how to establish military control over the North's key cities following occupation.

Last month, an officer stationed at the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command ignored regulations and inserted an unsecured USB drive into his work computer, causing it to be hacked into. South Korean military officers believe professional North Korean hackers were responsible for the attack.

If North Korea got its hands on the plan, it means it knows exactly what the allies will do in case of an attack. What military in the world lets its enemy know about its plan of attack and how can it protect the lives of its citizens in case of war? If the CFC's plan of action has been compromised, then it must scrap and completely reformulate it, which will waste a tremendous amount of taxpayers' money.

The military discovered the latest incident while it was conducting a security check following a Monthly Chosun article in October that exposed the theft of classified information on toxic chemicals by North Korean hackers in March. There were two other instances of classified information being stolen by hackers this year -- one in March involving the Army and the other in May at a unit directly under the command of the Defense Ministry. The latest theft involved only a portion of OPLAN 5027, but judging from the military's pathetic security levels, there is no telling what other classified pieces of information North Korea has already gotten its hands on.

A warning message is supposed to appear if an external memory device is inserted into a computer for official military use. But hackers are succeeding in stealing South Korea's military secrets because soldiers neglected these warning messages and break regulations. North Korea is capable of manufacturing long-range ballistic missiles. It has trained a unit of hackers and has attained a formidable level of expertise in cyber warfare tactics. The Internet cables used in a distributed denial of service attack against South Korean government institutions and private businesses in July were traced to North Korea's postal service.

Countless numbers of heavy weapons are deployed along both sides of the border separating North and South Korea, and tens of thousands of armed soldiers are engaged in a tense standoff. Naval clashes erupt frequently in the West Sea. If North Korean hackers can infiltrating the South's cyber borders at will, then all of those troops and weapons protecting the country along the border are useless.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 18, 2009 12:36 KST