March 6, 2014 – South Korean police on Thursday arrested two men for allegedly stealing the personal data of 12 million people from a top South Korean telecoms company and selling it for telemarketing.
The two, armed with a programme they developed in February last year, hacked into the website of Korea Telecom, the country’s second-largest telecommunication services provider, said police in Incheon city west of Seoul.
The stolen data included 12 million names, social security numbers, mobile numbers, occupations, home addresses and bank account numbers.
Police said the suspects sold the data to telemarketing companies for 11.5 billion won (US$10.7 million).
It was the second time in two years that KT has been targeted in such a fashion.
In 2012, the personal data of eight million subscribers was stolen and sold to marketing firms.
“KT will cooperate closely with police in investigating this incident and will make every effort to prevent any loss or damage to customers,” the company said in a brief statement on Thursday.
Police said their investigations would cover possible negligence by the telecoms firm.
Last month, regulators banned three credit card companies from recruiting new customers for three months for failing to prevent the theft of personal financial data from 20 million people.
“If an incident like this happens again, the company in question will be shut and its executives will no longer be able to work in this industry,” Shin Je-Yoon, the head of the Financial Supervisory Commission, said at the time.