August 12, 2011 11:07
Chinese hackers were responsible for stealing the personal information of 35 million users of Internet portal Nate and blogging site Cyworld, police said on Thursday.
The stolen information, which included the people's names and resident registration numbers, may be used to facilitate spam mail or voice phishing.
The Cyber Terror Response Center of the National Police Agency briefed reporters on the findings of their investigation, saying that the hackers used ALZip, a Korean file compression program, to access the data. The stolen personal information was leaked to a server that is believed to be based in China via another server in a third location. The ALZip program produced by ESTsoft is distributed free of charge and has around 14 million users.
"We believe that top-of-the-line hackers were responsible for the latest attack, due to the sophisticated nature of the malignant file that was used, and the brazen way in which they infiltrated cyber security company ESTsoft," police said.
"We are investigating whether North Korean hackers were involved in the latest attack, but so far we have not found any evidence."
The thieved data also included users' passwords, date of birth, gender, telephone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses.
SK Communications, which controls the hacked sites, said it would have been difficult for hackers to steal resident registration numbers as they are stored in encrypted form. But police believe the hackers could have broken through the encryption code.
It is likely that the cyber criminals sold the stolen information on the black market in countries like China, where Koreans' personal information is believed to sell for W30 to W50 (US$1=W1,081) per person.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com