By Na Jeong-ju
Financial affiliates of Samsung Group are unable to provide some customer services after a fire at Samsung SDS's data center, which manages data storage servers for the affiliates, Sunday.
According to the group and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Monday, the fire damaged the electronic payment systems and online services of its credit card and insurance subsidiaries.
The FSS said its inspectors are working with the affected firms to fix the systems. Samsung said all customers will be compensated for any financial losses from the incident.
The firm denied concerns about a possible data leak from the center, located in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, or data destruction.
"We quickly blocked the servers in the Gwacheon center after the fire to prevent any possible data leak," a Samsung official said. "There will be no data loss because we have a backup data center in Suwon."
The fire broke out just past noon Sunday, and was put out in the evening. A Samsung SDS's subcontract worker was injured but no other casualties reported.
The exact cause of the fire is being investigated. Company officials assume that the blaze might have started at a smoke pipe on the outside of the building.
Hardest hit by the incident is Samsung Card.
The firm's online payment system hasn't worked since 2:50 p.m. Sunday. Samsung cards were not accepted at shopping malls for Internet and smartphone users as of Monday afternoon. Payment services for Samsung card users were also halted at major banks and brokerage companies.
The users also cannot use cash advance services at most automatic teller machines nationwide.
Samsung Life Insurance said automatic transfer services for insurance premiums from customers' bank accounts will be suspended until Friday. Its services for smartphone and Internet users are also not being provided.
Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance said its customers cannot file insurance claims through its homepages for PC and phone users. Services for those who have paid premiums using Samsung cards are also not available.
Samsung SDS said its Internet-based phone services are suffering disruptions.
An FSS official said inconvenience will continue until Samsung's data storage system is completely restored.
"We've told the affected firms to resume services as quickly as possible and compensate customers for all damage caused by the disruptions," the official said. "We are also taking precautions against possible data leaks from the Samsung affiliates. We asked them to take appropriate measures regarding the damaged servers."
The incident follows a series of data theft cases at major banks and credit card companies, in which the personal information of more than 20 million people was stolen and delivered to loan brokers.