Chinese hackers steal online info of 35 million South Koreans

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A new cyber attack aimed at South Korean social network aficionados was perpetrated this week, resulting in the theft of some 35 million users’ personal info. It’s possibly the largest hacker undertaking since the colossal PlayStation Network security breach in April which affected an estimated 77 million people around the world.

Chinese hackers steal online info of 35 million South Koreans

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The BBC reports that players of SK Communications’ Facebook-style game “CyWorld” and web denizens who utilize the company’s web portal Nate likely had their personal information – including names, phone numbers and email addresses – lifted in the attack, which South Korean IT experts say originated from neighboring China.

China has a murky history of being a locus of global cyber attacks.

Earlier this year, Chinese hackers were believed to be behind cyber intrusions aimed at the west which scored information from several energy companies and the Canadian government’s military research branch. Past allegations involved a government-sanctioned attack on China’s version of Google. Last month, Google accused Chinese hackers of attempting to hack into the emails of journalists and government employees.

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Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos and contributor at its Naked Security blog, called the size of the attack “staggering.” The expert also shifted some of the blame onto SK Communications for not implementing stronger security measures in its social networking site.

“The most obvious danger is that users of the websites may be targeted by spam and phishing attacks through no fault of their own,” Cluley wrote. “Once again, a social network has done a poor job at protecting its users’ information, and it’s the public which has to carry the burden.”

Authorities are currently investigating the attack according to Reuters, though no details on exactly how the cyber thieves accessed 35 million accounts have been released.

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