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South Korean Telecom Giant KT Corporation Accused of Infecting 600,000 Users with Malware Over Torrent Use

South Korean telecom giant KT Corporation has been implicated in deliberately infecting over 600,000 users with malware due to their use of torrent services, as reported by JTBC. This issue surfaced in May 2020 when Webhard, a Korean cloud service provider, faced numerous user complaints about mysterious errors. The compromised Grid Program, reliant on BitTorrent peer-to-peer sharing, was found to be the malware’s target.

Webhard noted that only KT’s internet service users were affected, experiencing strange folder creation, invisible files, and, in severe cases, disabled PCs. Following a police investigation, the malware’s origin was traced to KT’s data center south of Seoul. Authorities have charged 13 individuals, including KT employees and subcontractors, under South Korea’s Protection of Communications Secrets Act and the Information and Communications Network Act.

KT admitted to planting the malware, claiming it was necessary to control what they described as a malicious program on Webhard’s Grid Service. However, this justification has drawn significant criticism because the malware installation occurred without user consent.

Historically, Webhard and KT have been at odds over the Grid Service, which allows users to store and transfer data via peer-to-peer networks, purportedly saving Webhard significant storage costs. This service, however, strained KT’s network. Despite a court ruling in KT’s favor, allowing them to block Webhard’s network traffic due to unpaid network usage fees and inadequate user explanation, KT’s decision to deploy malware instead of blocking IP addresses has sparked outrage.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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