Hackers steal data of around 1,000 North Korean defectors

Saul Bowman
December 31, 2018

This is the first known case of information involving defectors being leaked on such a large scale.

September a year ago saw the news that an official from the MOU was under indictment on suspicion of selling the personal information of 48 defectors.

"Currently no harm or damage has been observed due to the leak", a Unification Ministry spokesman told CNN.

Hana Centers were set up by the South Korea government in 2010 to help North Korea refugees integrate into and establish stable lives in the country by helping with counseling, resettlement costs, medical expenses, children's education and employment.

South Korea has previously accused North Korea of conducting cyber attacks against its government websites and businesses.

In this image taken from a video released on December 28, 2018 by the Defense Ministry, a South Korean destroyer (center) that Japan claims locked onto a Maritime Self-Defense Force P-1 patrol aircraft is seen on December 20.


Hackers stole the names, birth dates and addresses of 997 North Koreans by infecting a computer with malicious code, according to the Yonhap news agency. It confirmed that the computer was hacked and someone other than the employees approached the document file containing the defectors' information. "The file was confirmed to have been leaked".

In this image made from video released Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, a South Korean naval warship is seen as it allegedly locks its fire-control radar on a Japanese warplane Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, in the disputed waters north of Japan.

Officials from the Hana resettlement centre said they have been notifying those affected after discovering last week that one of its computers had been breached around November.

Officials say police continue to investigate the leak. The North has denied responsibility.

There are 25 such centres across the country which provide support for the roughly 30,000 North Korean defectors who live in the country. In the past, prominent defectors have been targeted by the North Korean authorities and families left behind in the North have faced punishment.

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