Feeds

Software maker fingered in Korean hackocalypse

ESTsoft flub spawns nation's worst breach

Seven Steps to Software Security

A devastating attack that exposed the personal information of 35 million South Koreans was perpetrated after hackers breached the security of popular software provider ESTsoft and planted malicious code on one of its update servers, it was widely reported Thursday.

Attackers with Chinese IP addresses uploaded malware to a server used to update ESTsoft's ALZip compression application, South Korean news outlets said. The upgrades eventually caused the compromise of 62 PCs at SK Communications that used the program. Attackers then tapped the machines to steal the names, user IDs, hashed passwords, birthdates, genders, telephone numbers, and street and email addresses contained in a database connected to the same network.

It was South Korea's biggest theft of personal information ever. With about 49 million people living in South Korea, the breach is believed to have affected the majority of the nation's population.

After hijacking the SK Communication PCs with the fake ALZip update, the attackers used the machines to access databases containing user information for the telecom's Cyworld social networking website and the Nate web portal. The publications cited investigators from Korea's National Police Agency.

“As a general-purpose software company, we deeply apologize for being involved in the hacking,” ESTsoft CEO Kim Jang-joon said in a statement, according to The Korea Joongang Daily. “We respect the results of the police's analysis and investigation. To prevent further hackings, we will strengthen the security system of our programs.”

Kim said other software titles offered by ESTsoft, including its Alyac antivirus application, weren't affected in the breach.

Koreans have been dumbstruck at the news. NHN, the operator of Korea’s No. 1 web portal, ordered its employees to delete ESTsoft programs, The Korea Joongang Daily reported in an earlier article. At least one lawsuit has already been filed against SK Communications.

More coverage here. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.