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KFTC uncovers massive hacking scheme to steal accredited certificates

South Korea's financial authority said Monday it has uncovered a large-scale hacking scheme that resulted in the theft of personal financial transaction information of hundreds of bank clients.

 According to the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC), a group of hackers allegedly stole a total of 461 authenticated certificates, in an apparent bid to withdraw cash from victims' bank accounts.

The KFTC, which settles financial transactions among individuals, said it reported the case to local banks after immediately discarding authenticated certificates to prevent massive financial chaos.

Authenticated certificates refer to electronic methods of identification issued by authorities for financial transactions including online banking, tax payments, and stock trades.

The KFTC said hackers used the so-called "pharming" method, which involves inducing victims to log on to fabricated home pages of local banks, resulting in information leakage.

Top South Korean banks were among the targets, including Shinhan Bank Co. as well as Kookmin Bank and Woori Bank, the KFTC added.

Market watchers said South Koreans should pay particular attention to financial swindlers making use of mobile phone messages with fake homepage addresses that impersonate banks and financial authorities. (Yonhap News)