The South Korean police arrested on Wednesday a self-taught hacker who allegedly devised a program to break into the nation’s most popular portal site.
The suspect, surnamed Hong, finished the hacking program in his last year of high school after learning computer programming on his own when he was 16 years old, according to the Cyber Terror Response Center. The 20-year-old college sophomore is currently pursuing a degree in the restaurant business.
Hong hatched his hacking scheme from his observation that most people use the same IDs and passwords across multiple websites.
He developed a program that attempted to log on to Naver by using personal account information leaked on the Internet. Once logged in, the program automatically joined Naver online communities, then sent spam messages to its members.
The program could also change users’ passwords.
Hong received 21 million won ($19,500) from 87 people over the span of three years.
“Hong has hacking skills equivalent to that of an intermediate-level programmer,” said the police. “He went so far as to develop upgrade versions to break firewalls that Naver created to prevent data breaches.”
The hacker told the police that he targeted Naver because its vast database could generate the most profits.
By Suh Ye-seul