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Ministry halts online service on hacking fears

  PLAY AUDIO

Sept 23,2005
The government service of issuing copies of civil documents online will be temporarily suspended due to security problems. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said yesterday that it would temporarily halt the service until it seals security loopholes that have enabled hackers to invade its Web site (www.egov.co.kr) and forge civil documents such as the residence registry. “It has become common knowledge that documents issued on the Internet could be forged, thus opening doors for some people to make ill use of them when submitting documents to financial agencies,” Minister of Government Administration Oh Young-kyo said in a National Assembly special audit session. As of yesterday, the Web site stopped issuing 21 kinds of civil documents, including resident, land, construction and military registrations. About 20,000 documents have been issued since the service was launched in September 2003. The service’s suspension is thought likely to cause a great deal of inconvenience to the disabled or those households whose family members are too busy to visit government offices. An official from the Administration Ministry said it would take about a month to completely establish a hacking-prevention system. Earlier in the day, Representative Kwon Oh-eul of the opposition Grand National Party demonstrated at the National Assembly how easy it is to forge documents downloaded from the Web site the government has been touting as part of an ambitious digital venture project. Mr. Kwon pointed out that the hackers can forge and print documents directly from the Web site, instead of having to download them and modify the image files using high-quality copiers or scanners. Out of a total 2.57 million documents issued since the service started, only 0.5 percent, or 13,000, underwent the hacking-prevention process of receiving security authorization, he said. by Seo Ji-eun


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