An egregious leak of private data

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An egregious leak of private data

The website of the country’s second-largest mobile carrier was reported to have been compromised by hackers only two months after three of Korea’s major credit card companies experienced the country’s worst personal information leak. More than 12 million clients had their personal data stolen over the course of one year. KT is a household name in the telecommunications and information technology fields in Korea. So what company can we trust if we can’t rely on KT for its security?

KT, however, has an embarrassing track record. It lost the information of 920,000 clients to hackers in 2004, and 8.7 million clients in July 2012.

Hacking is an illegal act that threatens the safety of modern society. But responsibility also lies with the company for failing to protect its computer data. Mining and the theft of personal information has become commonplace these days. An institution or company that needs to compile, collect and store personal information should already have in place a strong fence against illegal predators.

KT, which has often been a target of hacking, should have been extra vigilant on the security front. But the company was seemingly unaware that the leak, which was accomplished by a simple hacking program, had been going on for a year. It is not just insensible, but also irresponsible and negligent. It can hardly be trusted to lead the domestic information and communications technology industry.

Authorities must carry out thorough investigations, and KT should be held accountable for repeated accidents. Authorities must prevent further damages from the abuse of stolen information. We have repeatedly asked the government and authorities to conduct a comprehensive checkup on companies and financial institutions that collect personal information for their business. The government must re-examine the security systems of all companies, public institutions and enterprises to prevent further leaks. Otherwise, our modern credit-based society could be seriously undermined and the public will never be free of anxiety regarding their personal information.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 8, Page 30

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