Cybersecurity News that Matters

Cybersecurity News that Matters

South Korean tax agency breach might be April Fool’s prank, researchers say

by Sangbae HAN

Apr. 19, 2023
11:53 AM GMT+9

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Apr. 19, 2023 8:53PM GMT+9

The ransomware group LockBit might have uploaded the domain name of the South Korean tax agency on their dark web leak site as part of an April Fool’s Day prank, South Korean cybersecurity experts suggested.

The threat intelligence experts from SK Shieldus, the country’s leading cybersecurity company, said in a report issued on Wednesday that the hackers have not yet disclosed the National Tax Service’s data. The cybercriminals posted the South Korean tax agency’s domain name on their leak site on March 29 and stated that they would publish the compromised data on April 1.

The experts raised the possibility that this alleged breach might be an April Fool’s Day prank for several reasons. “The publication deadline of the tax agency’s data is relatively short compared to other disclosure announcements which is on average one or two weeks,” stated the cybersecurity researchers in the report. “The date of the publication is also April 1, April Fool’s Day.”

However, the experts also suggested that there are several other possibilities, including that the cybercriminals might currently be in negotiations with the victim without publishing the data.

The National Tax Service’s spokesperson told The Readable on March 30 that the hackers have not reached out to the agency for payment for the stolen data. In addition, the agency notified The Readable on April 1 that they have found no evidence of data disclosure by the ransomware hacking group and stated that there was no impact on South Korean taxpayers’ records.

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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.


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