You may not have heard about the massive credit card data breach that recently was uncovered in South Korea, but it is definitely worth discussing regardless of what country you live in. Fully 40% of the entire South Korean population had their credit card numbers stolen. Ironically, the breach has been traced to a rogue employee at the Korea Credit Bureau, a company that provides risk management and fraud detection services. Itr is alleged that over a year and a half, the employee copied his company’s databases. Included in the information stolen was identification numbers, addresses and credit card numbers of some of Korea’s largest banks including KB Kookmin Bank, and Nonghyup Bank as well as Lotte Group, a large supermarket chain. What makes this story particularly intriguing, however is that Korean financial services regulators are punishing these companies for failing to protect their customers’ data. The banks are now prohibited from issuing credit cards to new customers or making new loans until May as punishment for their lax security.
This particular data breach illustrates that data breaches do not always have to be from outside hackers, but can be inside jobs where employees exploit their access to data to steal information that can be used for purposes of identity theft. It is incumbent upon businesses and governments to provide protection against both inside threats and outside threats. The technology and protocols to do this are available, yet too many companies and government agencies still neglect to take proper precautions. Until they do, we the people will always be at risk of identity theft when others hold our personal information. It is for this reason that you should vigilantly monitor all of your accounts regularly and consider having a credit freeze. For more information about credit freezes, go to the section on credit freezes on the right hand side of this page or check out “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”