A hacker has broken into the computer systems of South Korea's Hyundai Capital, stealing personal information on around 420,000 customers and using it to blackmail the company.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the firm - a unit of car giant Hyundai Motor Group - only found out about the breach when it received a blackmail e-mail from the hacker on Thursday demanding money in return for the data.
Hyundai called in the police and transferred 100 million won into an account designated by the blackmailer who has already withdrawn 47 million Won, says Yonhap, adding that police have CCTV footage of a man taking cash from a Seoul ATM.
Police believe the hacker gained access to Hyundai Capital's data from servers in the Philippines and Brazil.
South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service has launched a special investigation into the breach, warning that Hyundai could be sanctioned if it emerges that customer passwords were not encoded.
South Korea's president Lee Myung-Bak has also entered the fray, telling aides that "as society becomes more information-oriented, protection of personal information is ever more important," according to AFP.
Watchdog probes Hyundai Capital over information leak - Yonhap
Hyundai Capital's data leaked through servers in Philippines, Brazil: police - Yonhap