The Korea Herald


Nonghyup and IBM officials face probe over network crash

By 황장진

Published : April 17, 2011 - 19:12

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Prosecutors said Saturday they plan to summon witnesses to determine why the banking network of the country’s farm cooperative crashed.

The Seoul Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said about 20 National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup) and IBM Korea employees will be questioned in relation to the network glitch that has affected services since late Tuesday.

People have not been able to use Nonghyup issued credit cards and automatic teller machines have not worked properly. There have been other problems related to transfer of funds and payment that have inconvenienced millions of people across the country.

The cooperative has the largest banking network in the country since it is the often the only banking institution in rural areas not covered by commercial banks.

Investigators said they are currently in the process of checking records of people who had access to the main network control computer, including those that had the so-called Super Root code that could cause the kind of breakdown experienced in the past five days. They are also checking closed circuit TV records at Nonghyup’s computer system center and mobile phone records of those suspected of tampering with records.

They added that a notebook computer that may have triggered the problem has been acquired with forensic and other experts trying to determine who owned it and when the order to cause the banking network system to crash was activated.

“All possibilities are being explored, including collaboration between Nonghyup employees and outsiders,” an investigator said, without going into details. He said that depending on the results of the probe, more people may be summoned. 

Related to glitch, which may be recorded as the worst banking network accident in the country’s history, the agricultural cooperative said the system has not fully come back online and that it was receiving complaints from customers.

“There have been 280,000 complaints registered so far, including 880 requests for compensation,” a spokesperson said. He added that Nonghyup planned to eliminate service charges for various money transfers and mobile banking up till April 24.

The official, however, said it may take time for the network to fully come back online. 

(Yonhap News)