S.Korea to probe huge online data leak

S.Korea to probe huge online data leak
South Korea said Friday it would launch a probe into security systems of major retailer Shinsegae and 24 other companies after private data on some 20 million customers was leaked.

SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea said Friday it would launch a probe into security systems of major retailer Shinsegae and 24 other companies after private data on some 20 million customers was leaked.

The move came a day after police arrested three South Koreans for selling private information, including IDs, passwords and addresses, of more than 20 million compatriots online.

The three suspects bought the data from Chinese hackers who are still at large, police said.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said in a statement that government agencies and police would investigate the 25 companies, to see whether they had protected the private data of customers with security codes.

The incident appears to be the country's worst case of personal data leakage. In 2008 private information on some 10 million customers was leaked through hacking attacks on Internet Auction, now eBay's South Korea unit.

Shinsegae issued a statement of apology after data on 3.3 million of its customers was leaked from its online shopping mall.

It said none of its customers had reported any damage from the latest case.

South Korean prosecutors have indicted 39 people for uploading illegal copies of films and broadcast material on to local websites, officials said Thursday.

This was the largest indictment since the government launched a crackdown on digital piracy last September.

The culture ministry said the 39 included "heavy uploaders" accused of receiving money from Internet service providers in return for posting more than 1,000 files on local peer-to-peer sites.

It promised to step up the crackdown by operating a 24-hour monitoring system to track down illegal on-line trading.

South Korea, one of the world's most wired countries, has been under pressure to strengthen rules protecting intellectual property rights.

Official data showed digital theft caused an annual loss of more than two trillion won (1.29 billion dollars) with almost 20,000 files of copyrighted content circulating illegally last year.

Last month the chiefs of four leading local Internet service providers were sentenced to one year in prison and a 30-million-won fine for facilitating illegal distribution of copyrighted content.

Mar 14, 2010 15:48

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