Seoul: Personal information of nearly 1,000 North Korean defectors in South Korea has been leaked as a computer at a state-run resettlement centre was hacked, the unification ministry said on Friday.
The names, birth dates and addresses of 997 North Korean defectors were leaked last month through a personal computer infected with a malicious code, and the government learned of the leak on December 17, Yonhap news agency reported.
"Recognising a possibility of one personal computer at the Hana Centre in North Gyeongsang Province having been hacked, we carried out an on-site probe on December 19 in cooperation with the provincial government and the centre and confirmed the computer was infected with a malicious code," the ministry said.
"In that computer, there was a file containing personal information of North Korean defectors. The file was confirmed to have been leaked," it added.
Hana centres are tasked with facilitating North Korean defectors' settlement in South Korea.
There are 25 such centres across South Korea to provide support for the roughly 30,000 North Korean defectors who live in the country.
Probes into computers at other centres were conducted but no additional hacking or data leaks have been confirmed, the ministry said.
This is the first such large-scale information leak involving North Korean defectors, the ministry said.
The affected defectors have been notified of the leak, the ministry said.