Credit card details from nearly half of all South Koreans have been stolen and sold to marketing firms, it has been revealed.
In one of the country’s biggest ever breaches, the personal data of at least 20 million bank and credit card users in South Korea has been leaked, in a country of 50 million.
The theft was revealed after an employee from personal credit ratings firm Korea Credit Bureau (KCB) was been arrested earlier this week.
He was accused of stealing the data from customers of three credit card firms while working for them as a temporary consultant.
Managers at the marketing firms which allegedly bought the data were also arrested.
The stolen data includes the customers’ names, social security numbers, phone numbers, credit card numbers and expiration dates, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in a statement.
The employee later sold the data to phone marketing companies, whose managers were also arrested this month, prosecutors and the FSS said.
The information was taken from the internal servers of KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card and NH Nonghyup Card.
Regulators have launched investigations into security measures at the affected firms, the FSS said.
‘The credit card firms will cover any financial losses caused to their customers due to the latest accident,’ it said.
An employee of Citibank Korea was arrested last month for stealing the personal data of 34,000 customers.
The three bosses of the credit card firms involved made a public apology for the breach.