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North Korea makes Off with 10 Million e-Commerce Records

South Korea has fingered North Korea as the actor behind a major data heist of online shopping credentials.

The compromise of a top South Korean e-commerce destination resulted in thieves making off with the personal records of more than 10 million shoppers, according to Reuters. The site’s owner, Interpark Corp, said the hacking occurred in May and involved the perpetrator demanding a Bitcoin ransom in exchange for not leaking the data. Interpark said that it didn’t give into the demand, and has been cooperating with the police.

"We are sorry that it has become difficult to arrest a suspect as it has been found to be North Korea's conduct," the company said in a statement.

The South's national police agency said that it was able to tie the attack to North Korea's spy agency, because the IP addresses and code used shared numerous characteristics with previous incursions by the hermit kingdom. This included the fact that the hacker used Northern vernacular expressions in emails to Interpark—of the type almost never found in South Korean discourse.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, and launched a long-range rocket in February, drawing fresh sanctions from the UN. Since then, South Korea has been bracing for nation-state attacks from the North’s cyber army as the North pursues further military milestones.

Earlier in the year, North Korea hacked into more than 140,000 computers belonging to 160 South Korean companies and government organizations, as part of a long-term plan by the North to launch a huge cyber-attack on its neighbor. Some 42,000 documents were stolen before the malware was detected, with 40,000 of those being defense-related. This included blueprints for the wings of F-15 fighter jets.

“There is a high possibility that the North aimed to cause confusion on a national scale by launching a simultaneous attack after securing many targets of cyber-terror, or intended to continuously steal industrial and military secrets,” an official at Seoul’s cyber-investigation unit told Reuters.

North Korea has denied wrongdoing.

Photo © Astrelok/Shutterstock.com

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