By Yoon Ja-young
Nexon, the country’s leading online game company operating globally popular “Maple Story,” had private information of 13 million local users hacked.
Korea Communications Commission (KCC) announced Friday that Nexon had private information of around 13 million users, including their names, user identification, resident registration number and password, leaked through hacking.
However, the game company said that the password and the resident registration number are likely to be safe as they were encoded to protect personal information. It also added that the account number or information on transactions needed for game item transactions wasn’t hacked.
According to the game company, the invasion on the backup database of “Maple Story” occurred on Nov. 18. It was made aware the incident three days later, and reported to the KCC around 5 p.m., Friday. It also requested police investigation.
KCC said that it requested Nexon to immediately inform users of the hacking to minimize damage from the private information leakage. It also advised users to change their passwords for other Internet sites where they use the same user identification and passwords as the ones for “Maple Story.”
“We have set up an investigation team, comprising of experts in private information and security, to get further details,” said a spokesperson for the KCC. He added that it would have a thorough investigation on whether Nexon was negligent or in violation of the regulations regarding private information protection.
“Maple Story” is a globally popular game, boasting 100 million users in near 60 countries, including 18 million users here. Launched in 2003, the simple form of role playing game has been especially popular among elementary school students here.
The country has suffered a series of hacking incidents during the past few years, including the private information leakage of over 10 million users of Auction, an open market operator, in early 2008, followed by a leak at GS Caltex in the same year.
Shinsegae Mall had information of 20 million clients stolen last year, and Hyundai Capital worried its users as their critical information such as passwords and credit ratings were stolen. The most serious scandal of late involved SK Communications, which runs the popular web portal Nate, where personal information of more than 35 million users was leaked in July.
The incidents of hacking has contributed to the voice phishing rampant in the country, where scammers make a phone call posing as police officers, bank officials or even kidnappers, duping people into sending them money by using the private information they know of the victims.