February 18, 2019

Regulators to probe cryptocurrency exchanges over personal data

PUBLISHED : July 03, 2018 - 15:32

UPDATED : July 03, 2018 - 15:32

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[THE INVESTOR] Local media regulator Korea Communications Commission on July 3 said it had opened up a joint probe with Korea Internet & Security into cryptocurrency exchanges for the handling of personal information.

In response to the latest hacking attempts, the regulators kicked off an on-site investigation to examine whether technical and administrative protection measures had been adopted at the exchanges to protect user information. It will also look into other online-to-offline businesses, including e-commerce, travel and real estate apps, for personal data breaches. 

The regulators will check on collection, use, provision, destruction, access and user rights regarding the personal data, with plans to impose administrative sanctions and fines if they discover violation of the Information and Communications Network Act. The authorities have not disclosed the name of the exchanges, but industry sources say five cryptocurrency exchanges that were not under probe last year will be investigated.

The KCC was unavailable when reached for comment.

In October, the KCC investigated 10 cryptocurrency exchanges for personal data breaches. Following the probe, eight of the exchanges -- Upbit, Korbit, Coinone, Youbit, Ripple4u, Coinpia, Eyalabs and Coinplug -- were fined a combined 141 million won (US$125,900) for weak security systems that put personal data at risk.

The KCC will also look into these eight exchanges to see if corrective measures have been carried out since the penalty.

“Due to frequent hacking incidents at cryptocurrency exchanges, users face more risk of financial damages,” said Kim Jae-young, director of user policies at KCC. “Through the latest investigation, we will prevent further damage by strengthening personal data protection.”

In June, Bithumb, one of the leading exchanges here, was hacked and had 35 billion won worth of coins stolen. A week earlier, smaller domestic exchange Coinrail lost 40 billion won worth of coins in a cyberattack.

By Ahn Sung-mi (

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