13 million MapleStory users’ private info hacked

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13 million MapleStory users’ private info hacked

A server of one of Korea’s largest game developers was hacked, and personal information of more than ten million users was stolen.

The Korea Communications Commission said on Friday that Nexon Korea reported that the back-up server for the company’s online game MapleStory was hacked, leaking personal information of around 13.2 million users, including user names, resident registration numbers and passwords.

The hacking took place on Nov. 18. Nexon, founded in Korea, is headquartered in Japan, but the server in question was in Korea.

MapleStory is the world’s first side-scrolling massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans, including elementary school students.

Nexon said there is a low possibility of the registration numbers and passwords being exposed because they are safely encrypted. The KCC ordered the company to inform users of the incident and to change their user names and passwords for other Web sites as a precaution.

The KCC and the police have embarked on an investigation to discover the cause and track the information leakage by forming a group of information security experts. “The authority plans to apply strict rules over possible violations regarding personal information protection by the company,” the KCC said.

The KCC is operating a hotline “e-call center” where victims can report any damage by calling 118.

In July, the Web site of Nate, one of the country’s most popular portals, was hacked exposing personal information of more than 35 million people. Victims of the Nate hacking case issued a petition to urge the investigation authority to conduct a thorough investigation. “It’s unfortunate to see another major hacking incident happen only four months after the Nate case,” the petition said. “Nexon reported the incident to the police belatedly in order to conceal it,” it said.

The investigation of the Nate case is still going on.

Much attention is being paid to whether the initial public offering of Nexon, planned for next week, will be affected by the hacking. The company won approval for an IPO from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in November. Nexon is hoping to raise 10 trillion won ($8.6 billion), the largest ever for a Korean game company.

By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]
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