Cybersecurity News that Matters

Cybersecurity News that Matters

Former LG Display employee sentenced for leaking core technologies using son’s phone

Designed by Daeun Lee, The Readable

by Kuksung Nam

Jun. 11, 2024
9:13 PM GMT+9

A former employee of LG Display has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegally obtaining information about the company’s core technologies. He extracted this information through his child’s phone with the intention of using it for employment at a competing Chinese company.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the appellate court from May 17, which sentenced the former employee of the country’s tech giant to 18 months in prison and imposed a fine of 10 million won (approximately $7,300) for violating the Industrial Technology Protection Act. Additionally, the court found the defendant guilty of embezzlement.

According to the appellate court’s findings, the defendant unlawfully obtained access to 68 instances of data concerning the company’s core technology over a period exceeding one week, from late January to early February 2021. This data encompassed technologies related to the design, processing, and manufacturing of AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) displays, as well as blueprints of manufacturing plants, all of which are classified as national core technologies.

To evade detection, the defendant utilized his child’s phone, which lacked the company’s security measures, to capture and store over 1,000 photos containing sensitive information. Furthermore, he obscured his actions by covering the laptop camera with a segment of mandarin orange. These illicit activities took place during the defendant’s self-quarantine period in early 2021, following his relocation to South Korea after a decade of employment at the company’s Chinese branch.

The defendant resigned from the company in April 2021 after over 20 years of service and subsequently joined the affiliated firm of a tech giant in July 2021. While the stolen information was not directly transmitted to third parties, the court found that the defendant had acquired the data with the intention of seeking employment with a Chinese company known to be a competitor of LG Display. Correspondence between the defendant and employees of the Chinese firm revealed his frustration with the job-seeking process, expressing confidence in his ability to contribute significantly to the company due to his expertise.

The appellate court noted, “The potential damage was averted as the position sought by the defendant had already been filled by another individual. Additionally, the defendant did not take proactive measures to delete the unlawfully obtained information.” The court further emphasized the significance of imposing appropriate penalties, stating, “Failing to address such crimes with severity may undermine companies’ incentives to invest substantial time and resources into technological advancements. It could also create a precedent where foreign entities exploit painstakingly developed technologies under the guise of talent acquisition.”


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  • Kuksung Nam
    : Author

    Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and...

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