Feeds

Cops nab mobile net workmen for snarfing punters' data

Gang allegedly tracked and sold Koreans' info

The essential guide to IT transformation

Police in South Korea have arrested five men working as sub-contractors for the country’s two biggest mobile companies. The men were nabbed on suspicion of snarfing personal information and location data from potentially hundreds of thousands of mobile users and selling it on to private detectives.

The Korea Herald reported that the men had been subcontracted to manage online friend tracking services for SK Telecom and KT, which between them have close to 90 per cent of the mobile market in the country.

However, the men allegedly developed software designed to harvest personal user information and location data without the knowledge of the user and then sold it on for up to 300,000 won (£168) per set of information.

As well as the two alleged data thieves, police reportedly arrested a private detective agency owner and a man who acted as broker – buying data from the hackers and selling it on to the agencies for up to 500,000 won (£280).

The detective agencies then sold the data on again to individual clients, the report alleged.

The illegal software was used in close to 200,000 cases, according to the police.

“The program had been used for commercial reasons for three months since August last year. But it is assumed that not all the tracking cases were tracked in violation of the law,” a police official is quoted as saying.

"We plan to further expand related investigations because we have found that as many as 1,000 clients requested information tracking and the destinations of the leaked information have not been disclosed.”

The incident calls to mind a well-publicised case from 2009 when T-Mobile was forced to admit that staff had been making significant sums on the side by selling on customer data to competitors.

In the case of KT and SK Telecom, both of whom reportedly knew nothing of the illegal activity going on until the arrests, it highlights the need for companies to practice good data security and carry out strict vetting checks on any subcontractors. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.