Hyundai Motors faces sanctions for exposing personal information

By Dain Oh, The Readable
Nov. 17, 2022 9:43PM KST

South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company has faced government sanctions after it was confirmed to have leaked customers’ personal information due to a system error which was caused by unfinished software testing.

On Wednesday, the Personal Information Protection Commission imposed sanctions on 14 business entities, including Hyundai Motors and Nongshim, for privacy violations. The entities are levied to pay 50 million won ($37,000) fines in total.

The South Korean authorities concluded that Hyundai Motors violated the personal information protection law because the company’s actions resulted in exposing its customers’ data by releasing source code which did not go through software testing.

According to the commission, Hyundai Motors made a mistake when it was connecting the company’s application to a livestream shopping software. It was discovered by an investigation that the company decided to release source code to its server even though it did not finish software testing.

Consequently, some of its customers were able to view other customers’ personal information while they were using the app. The government found out that six customers were affected by this incident at the time of investigation.

“Prior to releasing source code, companies must have it tested in order to ensure its security,” Jin Seong-cheol, a director of the Personal Information Protection Commission, told The Readable. “Business entities which process personal data should constantly review their obligations regarding security measures to prevent breaches.”

The cover image of this article was designed by Sangseon Kim.

Dain Oh is an award-winning cybersecurity journalist based in South Korea and the founding editor-in-chief of The Readable by S2W. Before joining S2W, she worked as a reporter for The Electronic Times, the top IT newspaper in Korea, covering the cybersecurity industry on an in-depth level. She reported numerous exclusive stories, and her work related to the National Intelligence Service led to her being honored with the Journalist of the Year Award in 2021 by the Korea Institute of Information Security and Cryptology in a unanimous decision. She was also the first journalist to report on the hacking of vulnerable wallpads in South Korean apartments, which later became a nation-wide issue.