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Nexon’s Maple Story Security Breach Was Just One of Many Korean Hack Attacks

Illustration for article titled Nexon’s emMaple Story/em Security Breach Was Just One of Many Korean Hack Attacks

So, that enormous data trespass that Korean online powerhouse Nexon revealed last week was bad. Bad enough to be the second-largest such incursion in Korean history. If you think that sounds like there've been some other big security breaches, then you're right.

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A Korea Times article by Kim Tong-Hyung gives some context as to how bad corporate hack attacks have been in South Korea and why the risk is greater in the Asian nation:

At the core of the problem is that websites here have been permitted to zealously collect more personal information than they could possibility handle.

But despite this audacious lack of responsibility, authorities are moving to require the companies to squeeze even more data out of their users in attempting to control Web behavior. Critics, held hostage by policymakers and their circular arguments over the years, appear to be too beaten down emotionally and intellectually to stand up and scream: Are you serious?

``How many more massive data leaks will it take to finally convince everyone that the mountain of personal data floating out there really shouldn't be there? It's incredible that the government continues to let private companies collect this information and use it to generate profit when the data should be used for administrative purposes only,'' Jang Yeo-gyeong, a computer security expert at activist group Jinbo Net, said.

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Even after the summer's epic PlayStation Network breach, it seems that many companies—and not just video game ones— still need to learn some hard lessons about how to manage user data.

Nexon case shows lax cyber security [Korea Times]


You can contact Evan Narcisse, the author of this post, at evan@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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DISCUSSION

South Koreans are required to use their uniquely identifying Korean Social Security Number to use just about every online service or game. I am not surprised that network breaches are more serious. Every security breach of an online service in South Korea is of the same severity as a US citizen getting their SSNs stolen.

The author of this article is not alone in criticizing this incredibly strict information-gathering policy (it was derived from a member of the ruling party wishing to crack down on criticism on the internet, if I recall).

The second breach mentioned obliquely in the article was the South Korean equivalent of Facebook. ([yro.slashdot.org]) At an estimate of one account per person, the personal details and KSSNs of nearly 71% of the country's population were stolen in just two hacks.