Programmers have stolen personal data of right around 1,000 North Korean turncoats, the South Korean government uncovered today.
The data from one of the 25 turncoat support centers was stolen, authorities said. The hack occurred after an employee worker of a defector support center opened a malevolent document that he received through email on Monday, December 19, 2018.
The hacked support center is the one catering for North Korean turncoats who have migrated in the North Gyeongsang area (Gyeongbuk, previously Gyeongsangbuk-do).
As per a message posted on the support center’s site, the programmers stole personal details, for example, names, dates of birth, and places of residence.
In a public statement, the Ministry of Unification said programmers stole data on 997 North Korean turncoats living in the North Gyeongsang region, aside from the city of Gyeongsan.
South Korea houses more than 30,000 North Korean turncoats
The Ministry of Unification said that it had previously advised the turncoats who had their information stolen and is running a support desk where affected parties can call or visit for additional consultation.
Experts are still examining the occurrence, and it is indistinct if this was just a mundane information burglary, or if the North Korean government’s scandalous programmer groups were behind the assault.
Most political investigators fear the worst; that the Pyongyang regime was behind the assault. Specialists state that the lives of the turncoats and their families, both toward the south and north of the border, may now be in threat. Much the same as most communist nations, North Korea has regularly struck back against defector’s families in the past.
Sokeel Park, South Korea Country Director for Liberty in North Korea, a global NGO that helps North Korean turncoats, says this hack will make the deserters feel less protected living in South Korea. They may change their names, phone numbers and addresses.
Examinations by the unification service and the police are as of now advancing, with the administration saying it would “do its best to keep such an episode from happening once more”.
The North Korean government has historically engaged in hacking campaigns which were targeted at unmasking and tracking the lives and whereabouts of defectors. In 2013, North Korean state-sponsored hackers encroached several websites of organizations ran by or for North Korean defectors.
In 2016, a North Korean hacking bunch known as FreeMilk additionally focused on North Korean turncoats hiding in the UK, and in 2018, another North Korean hacker group tracked APT37 likewise targeted turncoats living in South Korea.