Feeds

Korean credit card bosses offer to RESIGN over huge data breach

After IT worker nabbed for putting details of nearly HALF of all SK citizens on USB

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

An IT contractor has been arrested over the theft of credit card and personal details of 20 million South Koreans.

Investigators allege an IT worker at the Korea Credit Bureau copied names, social security numbers and credit card details of millions onto a USB stick before flogging them to a marketing firm. He has been charged with stealing and selling data from customers of three credit card firms while working as a consultant.

The huge breach was apparently only possible because the sensitive data wasn't encrypted, according to an official at the country's Financial Services Commission. The siphoning off of data is reckoned to have occurred between May and December last year.

The as-yet-unnamed contractor – along with managers at the marketing firms who allegedly bought the purloined data – have all been arrested, the BBC reports.

The Korea Credit Bureau's role as a national credit reference agency gave it access to databases maintained by South Korea's three largest credit card firms: KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card and NH Nonghyup Card.

Chiefs of the three firms publicly apologised for the leaks before offering to resign, owing up to responsibility over the whole sorry mess in a classy move we doubt many Western execs in the same situation would follow.

Sohn Kyoung-ik, head of NongHyup's card business, has already exited stage left while the boards of the other two firms are still considering their responses, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A blog post by security veteran Graham Cluley includes images of South Korean bank bosses publicly apologising for the data breach, taken during a press conference in Seoul.

The offers of resignations came in the midst of local reports that Korean regulators would "stern punitive measures against financial institutions" in the leak was ultimately blamed on poor controls or management negligence.

The Financial Services Commission, Korea's national financial regulator, has formed a task force the manage the incident, minimise any harm, and push for improved security to guard against the possibility of similar incidents in future. The FSC published a statement saying the problem has been contained.

"The stolen data does not include credit cards' password or CVC code therefore it is very unlikely that the leaked information might be misused for financial fraud," it said. "Prosecutors also judged that there was no further leakage of the stolen data as they arrested those who had stolen the information and first distributed [it]. There has been no case yet reported as direct damage of the incident."

Since the data theft, about half a million customers have applied for replacement credit cards issued, CNN reports.

Credit card firms will be obliged to cover any customers who suffer a financial loss as a result of the breach, local financial regulators insist.

South Korea has an unfortunate track record in data security breaches. For example, two hackers were arrested for illegally obtaining the personal details of 8.7 million KT mobile customers before allegedly selling them on to telemarketing firms back in 2012.

A year earlier, hackers broke into the popular websites Nate and Cyworld, and stole information from about 35 million social networking users. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.