20 million people fall victim to S. Korea data leak

January 19, 2014
The breach affected at least 20 million people in a country of 50 million

The personal data of at least 20 million bank and credit card users in South Korea has been leaked, state regulators said Sunday, one of the country's biggest ever breaches.

Many major firms in the South have seen customers' data leaked in recent years, either by hacking attacks or their own employees.

In the latest case, an employee from personal credit ratings firm Korea Credit Bureau (KCB) has been arrested and accused of stealing the data from customers of three credit card firms while working for them as a temporary consultant.

Seoul's financial regulators on Sunday confirmed the total number of affected users as at least 20 million, in a country of 50 million.

The stolen data includes the customers' names, , phone numbers, and expiration dates, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in a statement.

The employee later sold the data to phone marketing companies, whose managers were also arrested earlier this month, prosecutors and the FSS said.

The information was taken from the internal servers of KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card and NH Nonghyup Card.

Regulators have launched investigations into security measures at the affected firms, the FSS said.

"The firms will cover any financial losses caused to their customers due to the latest accident," it said.

An employee of Citibank Korea was arrested last month for stealing the personal data of 34,000 customers.

In 2012, two South Korean hackers were arrested for data from 8.7 million customers at the nation's second-biggest mobile operator.

In November 2011, Seoul's top games developer Nexon also saw the personal information of 13 million users of its popular online game MapleStory stolen by hackers.

In July the same year, from 35 million users of Cyworld—the South's social networking site—was also stolen by hackers.

Explore further: 8.7 million mobile customers hacked in S. Korea

Related Stories

Target: Customers' encrypted PINs were stolen

December 27, 2013

Target said Friday that debit card PIN numbers were among the financial information stolen from millions of U.S. customers who shopped at the retailer earlier this month.

Neiman Marcus is latest victim of security breach

January 12, 2014

Luxury merchant Neiman Marcus confirmed Saturday that thieves stole some of its customers' payment card information and made unauthorized charges over the holiday season, becoming the second retailer in recent weeks to announce ...

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.