The non-public info of practically 1,000 North Koreans who defected to South Korea has been leaked after unknown hackers bought entry to a resettlement company’s database, the South Korean Unification Ministry mentioned on Friday.
The ministry mentioned it found final week that the names, start dates and addresses of 997 defectors had been stolen via a pc contaminated with malicious software program at an company known as the Hana middle, within the southern metropolis of Gumi.
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“The malware was planted via emails despatched by an inner tackle,” a ministry official instructed reporters on situation of anonymity, as a result of sensitivity of the difficulty, referring to a Hana middle electronic mail account.
The Hana middle is amongst 25 institutes the ministry runs across the nation to assist some 32,000 defectors regulate to life within the richer, democratic South by offering jobs, medical and authorized assist.
Defectors, most of whom risked their lives to flee poverty and political oppression, are a supply of disgrace for North Korea. Its state media usually denounces them as “human scum” and accuses South Korean spies of kidnapping a few of them.
The ministry official declined to say if North Korea was believed to have been behind the hack, or what the motive may need been, saying a police investigation was underneath option to decide who did it.
North Korean hackers have up to now been accused of cyberattacks on South Korean state companies and companies.
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North Korea stole categorized paperwork from the South’s protection ministry and a shipbuilder final yr, whereas a cryptocurrency alternate filed for chapter following a cyberattack linked to the North.
North Korean state media has denied these cyberattacks.
The newest information breach comes at a fragile time for the 2 Koreas which have been quickly bettering their relations after years of confrontation.
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The Unification Ministry mentioned it was notifying the affected defectors and there have been no stories of any damaging influence of the info breach.
“We’re sorry this has occurred and can make efforts to forestall it from recurring,” the ministry official mentioned.
A number of defectors, together with one who turned a South Korean tv celeb, have disappeared in recent times solely to show up later in North Korean state media, criticizing South Korea and the destiny of defectors.