3 Busted in Korea for Stealing 17M IDs

Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 01:02 PM gHale

Three individuals suspected of hacking into 225 websites and stealing the personal details of 17 million people are under arrest in South Korea.

The suspects, only named Kim, Lee and Choi, face charges of selling the stolen information to various loan companies and chauffeur services in exchange for 100 million won ($93,000), said South Korea’s Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency.

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Police said the websites targeted by the hackers did not have proper security, which allowed the attackers breach the databases and steal information, according to a report in the Korea JoongAng Daily.

The hackers told police they were easily able to steal the personal data since most of the websites didn’t encrypt the personal data of their members.

In some cases, the attackers posted maliciously crafted code on online forums. When administrators clicked on the links, they unknowingly gave the hackers access to their systems.

Kim and Choi are both 21. Lee is 18. They met in 2011 while playing an online video game, police said.

Kim faced charges in November 2012 for distributing malware in online communities. Choi also ended up charged for spreading malicious content online.

In September 2013, Lee moved in with Kim and Choi in Iksan, North Jeolla. That’s when they apparently started hacking into the website of various organizations, including real estate and trading services, the Korean Dental Association, the Association of Korean Medicine, and the Korean Medical Association, officials said.

They also targeted online gambling websites, police said. From one site, they managed to profit by stealing money directly or by blackmailing its operators, police said.

First, they stole 180 million won ($168,000) by manipulating data, after which they asked owners to pay another 80 million won ($74,800), threatening to delete the site.

Initially, Lee only handled the sale of the stolen information. However, he later figured out how to hack the sites so he stole data from 14 websites, police said.

In addition to Lee, Choi and Kim, six others are under investigation on suspicion for their involvement in the conspiracy, police said.

The owners of the hacked website could also be responsible for failing to protect their customers’ personal information.

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