Almost 1,000 North Korean Defectors' Details Leaked, Seoul-Run Resettlement Center Hacked

South Korea

South Korea in past years has accused North Korea of cyberattacks on South Korean business and government websites, but the North has denied responsibility.

They may change their names, phone numbers and home addresses.

Officials said Friday that a computer belonging to the Gyeongbuk Hana Center was "infected with malicious code", enabling hackers to access the information - including names, birth dates, and addresses - of 997 defectors. It could also put the defectors themselves in danger from North Korean reprisals.

The defector community expressed concern about the information breach. The Unification Ministry was, however, fairly confident a file containing personal information was stolen in the incident.

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The Hana centre is among 25 institutes the ministry runs around the country to help some 32,000 defectors adjust to life in the richer, democratic South by providing jobs, medical and legal support.

Those files were "leaked due to the hack", the statement said, adding new security protocols were being implemented from January 2019.

Schwartz (euroinfosec) • December 28, 2018 South and North Korea complete field verification of the withdrawal of guard posts from within their demilitarized zone on Dec. 12, 2018.

Repatriated North Koreans who have fled to China - where they are considered illegal aliens and often returned, whatever their asylum claims - may face "interrogation, torture, sexual abuse and forced labor", former North Korean officials have told Human Rights Watch.

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There were no other confirmed cases of hacking at any of the other 24 Hana relocation centers across the country, according to the ministry.

The unification ministry explained that it planned to notify all those whose information was leaked, and said the breach had not caused any negative impacts yet.

So far, there have been no reports of this data being used maliciously.

A cyber-attack by North Korea is suspected. During the ceremony, a special train carried 100 South Korean politicians, officials and members of families expatriated by the 1950-1953 Korean war, at Panmun station in the border city of Kaesong of North Korea.

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