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China Not Happy With South Korea Joining NATO Cyber Defense Center

NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) announced on Thursday that South Korea, Canada and Luxembourg have become members.

South Korea is the first Asian country to join the Tallinn, Estonia-based cyber defense unit. While South Korea is not a NATO member, the two have been collaborating in several areas, including cyber defense.

Following the announcement that South Korea joined the CCDCOE, Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief at China's Global Times, warned South Korea in a message posted on Twitter.

“If South Korea takes a path of turning hostile against its neighbors, the end of this path could be a Ukraine,” said Xijin, whose account is flagged by Twitter as “China state-affiliated media.”

There have been many reports in the past years about threat groups believed to be sponsored by the Chinese government targeting South Korea, but there have also been reports of South Korea-linked hackers targeting Chinese entities, including government organizations.

South Korea is also often targeted in operations launched by threat groups that have been linked to North Korea.

The CCDCOE focuses on cyber defense research, training and exercises. The organization recently hosted Locked Shields 2022, a large and complex international live-fire cyber exercise.

More than 2,000 people representing 33 nations took part in this year’s exercise, which involved roughly 5,500 virtualized systems being targeted in over 8,000 attacks. Finland took first place, followed by joint teams from Lithuania-Poland and Estonia-Georgia.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO announced that Ukraine would be accepted as a “contributing participant” to the CCDCOE. Ukraine also took part in Locked Shields 2022.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.