Sunday 24 February 2019

Hackers steal details of North Korean defectors

The classified data was leaked through a personal computer that became infected with a malicious code when an unsuspecting staff member in the centre opened an email. Stock image
The classified data was leaked through a personal computer that became infected with a malicious code when an unsuspecting staff member in the centre opened an email. Stock image

Mike Wright

The personal details of nearly 1,000 North Korean defectors living in South Korea have been stolen by hackers probably linked to Kim Jong-un's secretive regime.

This is the first time personal details, including names and addresses, of North Korean defectors have been stolen on such a large scale, South Korea said.

The hack was carried out at the Hana Centre in the North Gyeongsang Province, which helps North Korean defectors settle in South Korea and become accustomed to its capitalist society.

The classified data was leaked through a personal computer that became infected with a malicious code when an unsuspecting staff member in the centre opened an email.

There are 25 such centres across the country which provide support for the roughly 30,000 North Korean defectors who live in the country.

Authorities have conducted an emergency inspection of all computers at Hana Centres but no other leaks were found.

"We apologise to defectors from the North. We will make utmost efforts to protect their personal information and prevent any recurrence of such an incident", the government said in a statement.

North Korea's state media have threatened to silence defectors who actively engage in anti-Pyongyang activities such as launching leaflets to the North by balloons.

Yi Han-yong, a nephew of Song Hye Rim - the first wife of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il - was shot dead outside his house in Bundang, south of Seoul, in 1997.

His assassination by two attackers, who were never caught, followed the publication of his tell-all book about the private life of the Kims. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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