Card firms vow action on data theft

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Card firms vow action on data theft

Korean credit card firms are tightening their internal control systems as part of efforts to guard against data theft.

The moves come on the heels of a spate of data leaks in the credit card industry. In the latest episode, Samsung Card Co. called on police to investigate an employee about an alleged leakage of customer data, including their names and mobile phone numbers.

According to sources on Monday, Samsung Card discovered through an internal investigation that customers’ data including their names and mobile phone numbers were leaked. The company turned the case over to police last month.

A Samsung Card official said that the company detected a security breach in July and found that one of the company’s employees has been involved in the incident.

The official added that at this point it is difficult to tell how many customers’ private information has been exposed since the questioned employee refused to comment.

Police said they are looking into the case at the request of the company.

Two popular Web sites operated by SK Communications were hacked in late July, causing private information of 35 million users to be leaked. In August, Epson Korea Co., the Korean unit of Japan’s Seiko Epson Corp., was also attacked, leaking personal data of some 350,000 customers.

Moreover in April, the personal information of some 1.8 million Hyundai Capital Services Inc. customers was compromised in a hacking attack.

Samsung Card plans to tighten its security system and educate employees on managing customer information.

The company has already established a system that blocks any illegal transfer of information, according to the sources.

Hyundai Card Co., an affiliate of Hyundai Capital, blocks employees from using uncertified laptops and personal computers, and imposes the highest level of penalty to employees who breach security rules.

Other industry players such as Shinhan Card Co., Hana SK Card Co. and Lotte Card Co. have also stepped up security measures such as storing customer data in automated encoding systems and operating information security teams.

Despite these efforts, the recent data leak at Samsung Card has raised concerns that card firm employees may be capable of leaking customer information.

“Since the Hyundai Capital hacking incident, the industry is stepping up efforts to tighten security. But it seems that company officials can always attempt to leak customer information if they make up their mind to do so,” said an official, asking not to be named.


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