College student arrested for hacking 104 websites
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency announced yesterday that it has arrested a 20-year-old college student yesterday on the suspicion of hacking 104 websites across 24 countries in a bid to show off his technical prowess.
The student, surnamed Jang, collected 280,000 pieces of information from November 2013 to August by hacking various websites, according to the authorities. He then allegedly spread 13,000 pieces of that data across the Internet.
The sites Jang hacked included Internet shopping malls, universities and hospitals in 24 countries, police said.
He also collected account information from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and accessed North Korean websites to collect staff information from national or international government agencies, according to the police.
He apparently saved that information in cloud storage or posted it on his blog, and then elaborated on the process he used to hack those sites by posting videos on YouTube or foreign community forums where hackers share their information and provide tips or tutorials, police said.
Jang accessed emails and websites using the information he accrued and attempted to make purchases using credit card information, according to the police. The hacked information included a Korean official’s account information that the person had entered on an online shopping mall. Jang opened the official’s email using that data.
Police said Jang mainly targeted small domestic websites with weak security systems or foreign websites on which his activities would be difficult to trace. Small domestic websites often do not encrypt members’ passwords, which means they can be easily compromised using traditional hacking skills. “I committed the crimes because I wanted to show off my hacking skills to other hackers,” Jang told police during questioning.
Jang, who majors in cyber security, told police he learned how to hack computer systems when he was in high school and studied by reading foreign hacking sites or watching videos on YouTube. When he applied to college last year, he said he demonstrated his hacking skills in the early admissions process. The police advised the managers of the websites that were hacked to strengthen their security systems to avoid further damage.
BY KOH SEOK-SEUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]