VIDEO: South Korea forces spyware onto teens’ phones… and it has security holes

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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Bad luck if you’re a teenager in South Korea – as we’ve reported before, the country mandates that spyware be installed on your smartphone. :(

Smart Sheriff

But now worse news comes courtesy of the researchers at Citizen Lab.

They have analysed the Smart Sheriff software that South Korea requires by law to be installed on young people’s phones, and found 26 security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers to steal personal information and spy upon the very people that the app is supposed to protect.

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Read more in the Citizen Lab report, and check out the video I made about the issue.

South Korea forces spyware onto teens' phones... and it has security holes | Graham Cluley

The telecoms operators in South Korea say that they have now fixed the numerous problems in the app, but Citizen Lab recommends that users continue to exercise caution.

If you enjoyed the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel – and I’ll carry on making them.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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