Samsung fined $675,000 for a series of privacy violations

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Jun. 29, 2023 8:55PM GMT+9

The South Korean privacy watchdog agency has imposed a fine of almost 900 million won (around $675,000) on Samsung Electronics on Wednesday for a series of information leaks that happened from 2020 to 2021.

In a press release, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) stated that they held the 11th plenary session and decided to impose a penalty surcharge of 875 million won ($665,000) and another penalty of 14 million won ($11,000) on the tech giant.

After investigating six cases of personal information breaches reported from January 2020 to May 2021, the PIPC concluded that Samsung Electronics mishandled their users’ data in four cases. The agency closed other cases, saying that it was difficult to consider those cases as violations of the privacy law.

According to the statement, Samsung cloud, a service that allows users to upload their photos and videos to a backup, was hit by cyberattacks from February to April 2020 and from April to May 2020 respectively. Although the PIPC did not disclose the actual number of attacks deployed against the company, it stated that 76 accounts were impacted by the attack.

In addition, 26 users in early 2020 found themselves faced with unknown customer information after signing into their Samsung accounts due to a system error. In May 2021, 19 members of the Samsung online store were able to not only check their shipping information but others’ data as well, because of similar errors.

The South Korean watchdog agency also ordered the tech giant to come up with measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, including the enhancement of the company’s overall user protection system.

The cover image of this article was designed by Areum Hwang.

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 privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.