Credit Card Data Theft Rocks South Korea
The largest credit card data theft in South Korean history is now affecting nearly 20 million cardholders or 40% of the country’s population.
A contractor with the Korea Credit Bureau, reportedly hired to improve the protection system on client data, loaded details of over 100 million credit card accounts onto a hard drive over the course of 2013, and sold the data. The information included names, identification numbers and card data.
Multiple news outlets are reporting the card information of President Park Guen-hye and U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon were included in the heist.
The contractor and at least one other person have been arrested.
Customers of three card issuers have been particularly hard-hit: Lotte Card, KB Kookmin Card Company and Nonghyup Bank. The bank officers have publicly apologized and offered to resign.
The South Korean economy is driven by credit card purchases. Over half of the total consumer spending is made on credit cards, and the average citizen has over four credit cards.
A class action suit involving 130 people has been filed against the credit card companies, according to Reuters. Each person is requesting 110 million won, which equates to just over $100,000 in U.S. dollars.