Skip to main content

Hackers steal data for 12 million customers at South Korean phone giant

By Lina Yoon and Paul Armstrong, CNN
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1005 GMT (1805 HKT)
South Korea has already been rocked by one major leak of personal information this year.
South Korea has already been rocked by one major leak of personal information this year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hackers steal details for 12 million customers of South Korean phone giant
  • Bank details, home addresses obtained for three-quarters of KT Corp's users
  • Details used by an accomplice to sell cell phones posing as KT representative
  • Second major data leak in South Korea since January

(CNN) -- Police have arrested two people in connection with a cyber-attack that yielded personal details for 12 million customers of one of South Korea's biggest phone companies.

One of the suspects, identified only by the surname Kim, used his own customized hacking program to break into the computer system used by KT Corp, Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency Commissioner Lee Sang-Won said in a statement obtained by CNN Thursday.

Kim, whom police said was 29 year old, accessed bank details, home addresses and employment information for three-quarters of KT's 16 million registered users. This data was sold on to a 37-year-old man identified only as Park. The owner of a telemarketing business, Park used this information to sell cell phones posing as a KT representative, police said.

The two made 11.5 billion won (US$10.8 million) from the scheme, which dated back to February 2013, police added.

A third person initially implicated in the case was released.

The investigation is now expanding to other hacking activities and other cell phone sales stores.

KT said in a statement that it would actively cooperate with the police investigation to "minimize the damage to its customers," and "figure out the route of information leakage."

Credit card scam

In January this year, the personal data for 20 million South Korean credit card customers was stolen by a worker at the Korea Credit Bureau -- a company that offers risk management and fraud detection services.

The worker, who had access to various databases at the firm, is alleged to have secretly copied data onto an external drive over the course of a year and a half.

Clients of three Korean companies -- KB Kookmin Bank, Lotte Card and Nonghyup Bank -- were hardest hit by the data theft.

Following this leak, financial regulators have been working to revise legislation to beef up the protection of personal information, the Yonhap news agency reported.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT