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Aladdin falls victim to leakage of e-book content

Posted June. 01, 2023 07:39,   

Updated June. 01, 2023 07:39


It was reported on Wednesday that numerous digital files of best-selling books were leaked on Aladdin, an online bookstore subjected to a cyberattack. The Dong-A Ilbo gained some of the 5,000 ebook files, including “Pachinko," which was allegedly leaked via Aladdin. It turned out that hundreds of the books’ pages were accessible for free without any additional procedures required. The files acquired by The Dong-A Ilbo were sent earlier by the Korea Copyright Protection Agency, which is in charge of probing into the incident, to publishers afflicted by the data leakage. The affected book files were designed as Epub, which makes content publicly available with Digital Rights Management (DRM), a security device, not applied to them.

It was found that the 5,000 books affected by the data leakage involve many best-sellers released by famous South Korean publishing firms, including Munhakdongne, Minumsa, and Changbi. More than 500 publishers have turned out to fall victim to the penetration of the bookstore system.

A suspicious comment was made in a Telegram chatroom on April 19, claiming that a million e-books were stolen from Aladdin. The alleged hacker demanded 3.5 billion won worth of bitcoins from the online bookstore platform with around 5,000 ebook files posted in the chatroom. It is speculated that the leaked files are spreading further, given that as many as 3,200 users were in the chatroom at that time.

Aladdin stated that the scale of damage has not yet been calculated. However, experts are deeply concerned that the publishing industry can be hit hard by the hacking incident given that e-book content can be copied limitlessly. A series of legal actions are likely to be taken. The Korean Publishers Association and the Korea Publishers Society were given a proxy statement for legal action by the affected publishers. Korea Publisher Society President Lee Kwang-ho said, “It is highly likely that Aladdin will be embroiled in a complicated lawsuit demanding compensation.”