Saturday, October 13, 2007

[The Chosun Ilbo, October 10 2007] Hackers Threaten Cyber Money Sites

Korea’s W1 trillion (US$1=W919) digital money market is reeling after a series of virtual-item trading sites on the web started to encounter connection problems since the end of last month. Internet users are increasingly alarmed amid rumors that hackers have broken into the sites demanding money from the online trading firms. “Virtual items” are bonus weaponry and other aids acquired through progress in a game that function like virtual credit -- “cyber money” -- and are bought by impatient gamers online to allow them to progress to the next stage.

◆ Trading sites freeze

As of Tuesday afternoon, Korea’s main game item trading sites -- ItemBay, Item Mania and Item Play Forum ? were all experiencing log-in difficulties. The sites went through similar connection problems from Sept. 24 to 26. Users can post an item or “cyber money” on the sites or browse the site to pick up the item of their choice. Sought-after items can go for as much as W1 million. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that some W860 billion were traded on these sites last year with the number estimated to go up to W1 trillion this year.

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