Financial News

  • 22 January 2014, 8:30

South Korea Credit Card Data Theft Outrage

Thousands of concerned South Koreans have flocked to bank branches after the theft of data linked to 80 million credit cards.

There has been widespread public concern and anger after it was revealed that information including salaries, monthly card usage, credit rating and card numbers had been stolen from three major credit card firms.

Legal action is being threatened against the companies, which have been accused of failing to ensure adequate security.

It is the biggest confidential data breach ever in South Korea and has underlined the vulnerability of credit card information in a country where residents have, on average, more than four cards.

The stolen information from the companies involved - Lotte Card, KB Financial Group and NongHyup Bank - was unencrypted, according to the Financial Supervisory Service.

No financial losses have yet been reported.

Speaking outside a bank branch, Lee Young-hye said: "Of course I'm angry. Anyone might know when I pay my credit card bills, let alone my phone number and where I live. I might as well keep all my money in my closet."

Bosses at the companies have made a public apology and authorities have promised to improve security measures.

The regulator has urged the companies to be on their guard for data theft not only from hackers, but also by employees and contractors.

Prosecutors say an employee of Korea Credit Bureau, a contractor used by the companies, stole the data by copying it to a USB device.

The worker, who was responsible for developing new software to detect credit card fraud, sold the data to a loans company, it is alleged.

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