Personal details of North Korean defectors stolen after hackers target resettling agency

A soldier guards at the entrance of Unification Bridge between North and South Koreas

A cyber-attack by North Korea is suspected.

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters earlier Friday that he chose to release the footage and data to let the people in and outside Japan know that the Japanese Self-Defense Force operated appropriately.

North Korean hackers have in the past been accused of cyberattacks on South Korean state agencies and businesses.

The hacked support center is the one catering for North Korean defectors who have relocated in the North Gyeongsang province (Gyeongbuk, formerly Gyeongsangbuk-do).

The ministry added that this was the first ever large-scale leak of such kind involving North Korean defectors.

Hana centers are South Korea's resettlement agencies that work with defectors to introduce and acclimate them to life outside of the North Korean dictatorship.

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Hana Centers were set up by the South Korea government in 2010 to help North Korea refugees integrate into and establish stable lives in the country by helping with counseling, resettlement costs, medical expenses, children's education and employment.

As of 2018, 30,000 people have fled from North Korea and settled down in the South.

Ministry officials say they will monitor the investigation.

Meanwhile, as the relation between the two halves of the Korean peninsula improved, an increasing number of North Korean defectors came out of anonymity and made their presence known on social media. If the North Korean government finds out that these defectors are not only alive but have crossed into South Korea, that could endanger family members still living in the north. "They (affected defectors) are distraught", he said. "It's threatening to hear that our personal information is unsafe".

"The visit can happen anytime if North Korea sends an invitation to pope", Kim said at a news conference held at Gwangju Archdiocese in the southern city of Gwangju, Yonhap News reported. "Even though hard issues remain between Japan and South Korea", he said, "I hope to overcome those problems and push forward our mutual understanding and exchange between our two militaries".

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