Digital Chosun Ilbo
May 16, 2008
Police on Thursday arrested an American who allegedly hacked the
computer network of a Korean savings bank, disrupting its systems and
attempting to blackmail it for money. It's the first time a domestic
bank has been hacked, police said.
The Korean National Police Agency's Cyber Terror Response Center on
Thursday requested an arrest warrant for a 24-year-old American
identified only as "J" on charges of hacking the network of "M" Savings
Bank and demanding a blackmail payout.
J allegedly hacked into bank's loan data administration system late last
month and encrypted the customer database so the bank couldn't access
it. The hacker left a message on the bank's internal bulletin board
saying he would unlock the database if US$200,000 was wired to his
account, otherwise the system would remain disabled.
The culprit is also believed to have sent the same message via cell
phone text message to 160 bank employees. The bank has 30,000 customers
and one trillion won in deposits.
A police officer said there have been cases of criminals stealing
customers' online banking data and withdrawing their deposits but this
is the first time a domestic bank's computer network has been hacked.
After graduating from a two-year college in the U.S., police said "J"
came to Korea on a work visa in 2003 but it's unclear what he has been
doing in the country.
On the same day, the police foreign affairs bureau arrested three
people, including a 51-year-old identified as "Lee", for allegedly
gathering wireless Internet access information on two banks for hacking
The information they obtained is a code that is exchanged when customers
access the bank network wirelessly. By decoding it, the hackers would
have been able to figure out the web administrator's ID which allows
access to the banking system.
Police said after hacking the ID, the hackers were planning to go to
China from where they would steal the banks' customer information. Once
they had access to account information, they could have withdrawn
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