IT Security News: South Korean National ID Database Hacked (eGovernment)

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South Korea national identity number system has been exploited, stealing some 80% of its data by hackers.

The nation’s government have been issuing citizens with unique and “lifetime” ID numbers since the late 1960s, and they have been using it in almost all of their transactions. The news of the hack also paved a way for the government to conduct a public hearing, which in turn sparked an online crime wave.

Director of Seoul’s Ministry of Security and Public Administration Kim Ki-su explained that they are anticipating “massive changes” – some $650million to change the system and possibily retrieve the stolen IDs. If this pushes through, business establishments will also be forced to spend their revenues for the new data to be included in their computers.

However, a flaw was pointed. The ID numbers are somewhat organized, and not randomized. They start with the owner’s date of birth, followed by “one” or “two” to depict his or her sex and another random number that indicates their address. Korea Research Institute for Local Administration researcher Geum Chang-ho described the series of numbers as “master keys” for hackers “to open every door” since residents use their ID cards to do everything from getting their email addresses credited to buying groceries.

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