Subcontracted employees were found to have taken some 350,000 pieces of private data belonging to customers from a local life insurance firm that hid the leak for months from authorities, the financial watchdog said Wednesday, just a day after the watchdog‘s chief issued a strong warning against a repeat of recent data breaches.
The leak was discovered as the Financial Supervisory Service was conducting an inspection of NongHyup Life Insurance Co., an affiliate of state-run farmers’ cooperative NongHyup Financial Group Inc. An internal report at NongHyup said employees from the subcontractor, hired to establish a security network to prevent insurance fraud, were discovered to have 350,000 pieces of information stored in their personal laptops. The FSS said the insurer made the discovery in January but did not report it to the authorities.
The insurer said it had given the customer list to the employees, according to the FSS. The list contained confidential data such as citizen registration numbers, it said.
The watchdog suspects that the employees handed the stolen information to data dealers or financial scammers.
NongHyup Life claims it had the data deleted from the laptops when it made the discovery in January.
“There is no possibility that the employees leaked the data externally when they were working under our tight surveillance,” said an official from NongHyup Life.
The FSS said it will look into the case with the government to determine if any crime was committed.
The watchdog has been conducting an all-out inspection of financial firms since a series of recent financial scandals fanned public outrage.
In January, investigators found that millions of customers’ data had been leaked from three major credit card firms ― Kookmin Card, Lotte Card and NongHyup Card. Some of the leaked data are believed to have gotten into the hands of financial scammers. (Yonhap)