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Financial regulators suspend businesses of 3 credit card firms after massive data leak Updated: 2014-02-03 21:53:37 KST

 Financial regulators suspend businesses of 3 credit card firms after massive data leak
Korea's financial regulators are coming down hard on three credit card companies whose customer data was stolen in the largest personal information leak in the country's history.
The Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service will suspend the business operations of KB Kookmin Card, NH Nonghyup Card and Lotte Card for three months starting February 17th.
Under the terms of the suspension, the companies will be banned from taking on new customers, issuing card loans or processing cash advances.
Existing customers, however, will not be affected as the suspension does not ban the firms from providing financial services to them.
The suspension is the first in over 10 years when credit card companies indiscriminately issued credit cards that led to mounting individual debt.
Last month's leak, which affected at least 20 million people, sparked concerns the data could have ended up in the hands of scammers.
The estimated compensation for mental damage caused to customers by the data breach is expected to reach nearly 160 million U.S. dollars.
As another part of the punishment, the CEOs of the three firms are to face punishment depending on their accountability.
With the public still up in arms over the leak, Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said Sunday that law enforcement authorities will begin an indefinite crackdown on those who illegally circulate or use leaked personal data.
However, concern continues to rise as it turns out not only credit card holders' information could be at risk.
Following an external audit, the Financial Supervisory Service confirmed Monday that the data of 51 customers of the Prudential Life Insurance Company of Korea has also been leaked.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.
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