UPDATED 21:40 EDT / FEBRUARY 24 2020

SECURITY

Samsung suffers data breach as coronavirus spreads through South Korea

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has suffered a data breach, but though the extent of the breach and exactly what was involved is open to speculation, it may be the least of the company’s problems given that the Wuhan coronavirus  is out of control in South Korea.

Initial reports suggested that the data breach may have been related to a mystery push notification received by some users last week, but Samsung said the push notifications were unrelated.

“A technical error resulted in a small number of users being able to access the details of another user,” Samsung said in a statement reported by The Register. “As soon as we became aware of the incident, we removed the ability to log in to the store on our website until the issue was fixed.”

How many users were affected remains a mystery. “Small number,” at least as described by Samsung, could mean millions of users given the company is the world’s largest seller of smartphones.

What is clear, however, is that those affected could see details of other Samsung users when logged into the Samsung shop.

A data breach may be the least of Samsung’s issues, however. The company has also been forced to shut down a factory in its native South Korea because of the coronavirus.

The factory, in Gumi-si, some 111 miles southeast of Seoul, was shut down after an employee tested positive for the virus. Although Samsung manufactures the bulk of its smartphones in Vietnam and India, the factory is reported to be tasked with making the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, the folding phone launched by Samsung Feb. 11.

South Korea is currently experiencing community transmission of the virus, formally known as COVID-19. Community transmission is where the virus has established itself in the local community and is passed among locals as opposed to infected mainland Chinese tourists infecting those locally.

Fear that the virus has established itself in South Korea has caused the country’s stock exchange to plummet, a contagion that also affected the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which plunged more than 1,000 points as well Monday, its worst day in two years.

Photo: Military Health System

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