North Korean defectors' personal data leaked in hacking

Geraldine Edwards
December 31, 2018

The lives of North Korean defectors living in South Korea just got a little more hard.

"We are making the efforts to re-examine the system", the ministry said, adding that it "will do its best to prevent any further leakages from taking place".

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters earlier Friday that he made a decision to release the footage and data to let the people in and outside Japan know that the Japanese Self-Defense Force operated appropriately.

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In October, cybersecurity firm FireEye accused the North Korean government of using a state-sponsored hacking group to steal more than $100 million in "particularly aggressive" attacks on global banks. They have named no suspects, but attention has naturally turned to hackers working for the Pyongyang-based regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

About 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea, mostly travelling via China, since the end of the Korean War in the Fifties.

Seoul's Defense Ministry expressed "deep regret and concern" over Japan's release of the video a day after the countries' military officials held a video conference to resolve what Seoul described Tokyo's "misunderstanding". The Unification Ministry was, however, fairly confident a file containing personal information was stolen in the incident.

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South Korea and the US failed to reach an agreement on defense sharing costs although their current five-year deal is set to expire this week.

South Korea's Unification Ministry says it learned on December 19th that a computer at the facility in North Gyeongsang Province had been infected with a virus.

"Their family members can go on with their lives in North Korea without telling anybody", Kim said, adding, "I'm anxious that this could lead to [relatives of] defectors coming into harm's way". "They (affected defectors) are distraught", he said. "It's threatening to hear that our personal information is unsafe", one defector told ABC News.

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One of the most high profile hacks linked to North Korea in recent years targeted Sony's entertainment business in 2014 - wiping out massive amounts of data and leading to the online distribution of emails, and sensitive personal data. "This whole personal media thing I do now was unimaginable".

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