One out of every seven in the Korean online community experienced hacking last year, while one out of six said their personal information was exposed online without their consent, according to government figures on Thursday.
In the corporate sector, one out of eight companies said their websites were disturbed or hacked, the Korea Communication Commission said, citing a survey it conducted on individuals and local firms.
The spread of computer viruses was the most frequent cause of online disturbances, they said.
Individuals who responded that their personal information was exposed without their authorization or knowledge replied that the data was usually released by commercial websites that require users to supply personal data in order to attain membership or make purchases.
These respondents said their information was exposed on an average 4.7 times a year. They stressed that privacy and security was a key issue for using social networking service websites, smartphones or wireless LAN lines.
More than 90 percent of those surveyed said that particularly for smartphones, which hold huge amounts of personal data of the user, tremendous problems would arise if the information is not properly secured.
Such concerns were why almost all of the respondents said they immediately erased texts or emails they suspected as spam.
The lingering worries about security and the management of information online and for smartphones come on reports that one-fifth of the Korean population use smartphones.
Allowing users to access the Internet including their email accounts and an endlessly growing supply of applications to choose from, smartphones have gained immense popularity in Korea, already known as the world’s most-wired nation.
Other smart devices such as tablet PCs are also selling well, with many Koreans saying they are waiting for Apple’s iPad 2 to hit the markets next month.
Reflecting the consumers’ security concerns, more than 90 percent of those surveyed said they used anti-virus vaccine programs.
The Korea Communication Commission said it surveyed 5,422 individuals aged between 12 to 59 years of age, and also 6,529 companies with more than five employees and internet access.
By Kim Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)