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article imageSouth Korea hit hard with credit card information theft

By Karen Graham     Jan 20, 2014 in Business
The hackers that targeted the credit and debit card system for Target during the Christmas season jeopardized close to 40 million customers accounts, to date. An even bigger breach has been discovered in South Korea, affecting almost half the country.
It was reported on Monday by the BBC that in South Korea, credit card information, including social security numbers, and credit details have been stolen from over 20 million South Koreans. In a country with a total population of 50 million, the theft has touched almost half the people in the country.
When the thefts were first brought to the attention of prosecutors, it was estimated that information from 80 million credit card holders had been stolen, including salary information, data on credit scores and monthly card usage. To date, prosecutors and financial regulatory officials have said no actual financial loses have occurred.
Shin Je-yoon, Chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said in a statement on Monday that credit card companies had failed to ensure there was adequate security in place.
It was determined that the information was allegedly stolen by a computer contractor working for the Korea Credit Bureau that produces credit scores. The scale of the theft wasn't discovered until the contractor was arrested. Prosecutors indicated the contractor started stealing data beginning in 2012, copying the data to a USB device.
The contractor, who had the responsibility for developing new software to detect credit card fraud, then sold the data to marketing firms. The data bases broken into belonged to three big credit card firms. The firms included KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card, and NH Nonghyup Card.
According to the director of the Financial Supervisory Service, Cho Sung-mok, the data of the three firms was unencrypted. Nonghup Bank's credit card division didn't know about the breach for over a year, and KB Kookmin didn't know about any data theft for at least six months.
Prosecutors are now looking into the three credit card firm's security measures, while a task force has been set up to investigate the impact of the breach in security. The three bosses of the credit card companies made a formal public apology.
More about Credit cards, Theft, computer data, Marketing firms, Arrests
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