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Pair collared after 'mobe giant hacked, info on 8.7 million sold'

Another 7 probed for buying private data in South Korea

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Police have arrested two South Koreans who allegedly leaked the personal information of 8.7 million mobile phone subscribers. The pair have been charged with hacking into the systems of KT Corp, the country's second biggest mobile carrier, and selling on the data.

A further seven suspects have been questioned by police over allegations that they bought the illegally obtained data to target telemarketing sales calls, the Yonhap news agency reports.

Investigators reckon telemarketers used subscribers' personal information, including details of phones they were using and monthly plans, to punt alternative mobile services just before their current contracts were about the expire.

The illegal marketing tactic brought in estimated sales of 1 billion South Korean won (£563,560; $877,000). Police only released partial details of one of the two main suspects in the case, a 40-year-old whose family name was Choi. The other suspects remain unnamed.

KT has reportedly acknowledged the data breach and promised to tighten up its security in a bid to prevent a repetition.

The privacy flap involving the details of million of mobile phone subscribers follows the leak of personal information of 35 million South Korean users last August after a hacking attack against two popular portal websites run by SK Communications, the country's biggest security breach to date. ®

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