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Personal details of 8.7 million mobile users leaked in South Korea

A phone network hack of vast proportions has taken place in one of the world’s most wired nations - South Korea.

A 40-year-old suspect and his accomplice have now been arrested reports the Yonhap News Agency, after they were accused of leaking the personal information of around 8.7 million subscribers to mobile operator KT Corp.

According to Korean police, the scam has been going on since February, and the stolen names, phone numbers and identification codes of the victims were sold to telemarketers; earning the hackers an estimated 1 billion won – around £560,000.

The number of people on the hacked network accounts for nearly half of the total mobile phone users in South Korea, with KT standing as the country’s second largest mobile carrier.

"It took nearly seven months to develop the hacking program and [the suspects] had very sophisticated hacking skills," an official at the police cyber response team said.

KT was forced to apologise over the incident and has vowed to improve its security measures. A statement from the company read, "In light of this incident, we will strengthen the internal security system and raise awareness of security among all employees to prevent causing inconvenience to customers.”

The KT episode comes a year after over 30 million people in South Korea had their data stolen via a hack on SK Communications Corporation - a security breach widely termed as the biggest in the country’s history.