South Korean authorities have told the three companies at the centre of a massive data breach which saw personal information stolen from millions of South Koreans to suspend operations for three months.
The Financial Services Commission has ruled that for three months from 17 February, KB Kookmin Card, Lotte Card, and NH Nonghyup Card will not be allowed to add new subscribers or market insurance policies. The companies have 10 days to appeal, according to Bloomberg.
Last month prosecutors indicted an engineer accused of using his role at the Korea Credit Bureau to steal information on more than 20 million credit card holders from the three firms before selling it on to marketing firms.
Executives at all of the affected firms have proffered their resignations, while authorities temporarily banned financial firms from non face-to-face transactions.
The scandal has provoked a huge response from customers, with around 2.28 million cancelling their cards, 3.84 million asking for cards to be reissued and 840,000 leaving the companies, Financial Supervisory Service figures show.
FSC chairman Shin Je-Yoon told a meeting yesterday that although there has been a drop off in cancellations, "public anxiety still looms large" and the breach should be taken as an "opportunity to overhaul the data protection system and old practices of illegally distributing personal details".