Massive data leak in South Korea

August 24, 2014 |

Data breaches are always a worry.  Large data breaches are especially concerning.  In South Korea 220 million items of personal information involving 27 million individuals have been accessed without authorisation.  This is reported in Massive data leak in S Korea affects 70% of 15-65 demographic  (also reported here).  The worrying aspect of this breach, as if these bald figures weren’t bad enough, is that it accounted for 72% of those in the 17 – 65 year old demographic. The motive is clearly financial but it is interesting to consider that the loss of personal information relating to such a large proportion of the active and productive part of the population of a country has obvious economic and security concerns.

The article provides:

South Korean authorities have unveiled a massive leak of personal information related to more than 70% of the population aged between 15 and 65 in the country. A hacker from China is one of the perpetrators, reports Duowei News, a news website operated by overseas Chinese.

The main perpetrator, last name Kim, was arrested along with over a dozen others for stealing and selling over 220 million items of personal information from 27 million South Koreans aged between 15 and 65, which accounts for about 72% of that demographic range, according to the South Jeolla Provincial Police Agency on Aug. 21.

The information had been stolen through hacking registrations on websites for online games, movie ticketing and ring tone downloads. A registration on any one of the websites can be used to trace registrations for the same person from other online service providers, the police said.

The police believe that Kim has made over US$390,000 hacking into six games in South Korea.

The stolen information was sold for prices ranging from US$0.001 to US$20 per item according to its value to con men or illegal gaming advertisers, the police said.

The authorities are investigating how the stolen information has been circulating and is pursuing other suspects, including the Chinese hacker.

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