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Ministry to bolster security after break-in

The government vowed Thursday to overhaul the entire security system at government complexes in the wake of multiple break-ins by a civilian last month.

The Interior Ministry announced it will fortify security levels by forming four separate task forces -- for security management, security personnel, computer security and service measures -- joined by private security experts.

It also immediately blocked entrances at the basement floor of the Seoul Government Complex in central Seoul that are connected to subway line No. 3 Gyeongbokgung Station, and will increase nighttime patrols.

Public officials line up to enter the Seoul Government Complex in downtown Seoul on Thursday as security checks were fortified upon the recent break-in case. Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald
Public officials line up to enter the Seoul Government Complex in downtown Seoul on Thursday as security checks were fortified upon the recent break-in case. Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald

The move followed a break-in by a 26-year-old candidate for civil service exam, identified by his surname Song, who sneaked into the Seoul Government Complex to change his test results that had been saved on a computer in the Ministry of Personnel Management office.

Song appears to have sneaked into the building four more times at night from March 5 to 26, according to authorities. He was arrested on Wednesday. He was reportedly desperate to get a job of public servant’s Grade 7 position.

According to the police, Song stole three public official’s ID cards from gym lockers on the first floor of the government complex. He then went up to the 16th floor where the Ministry of Personnel Management is located, entered the office using a password, hacked into the computer of the official who manages test results and added his name on the list to make him eligible for the next round of tests.

Song reportedly said passwords to open the office door were written on a wall -- apparently used by cleaners and security guards.

The National Police Agency is investigating, as software for computer hacking and password removal were found in Song’s personal computer at home in Jejudo, where he studies at a university.

Police said they are not sure whether he had an inside accomplice.

“We feel grave responsibility that the government complex was breached during a terror alert period,” said Kim Sung-lyul, deputy minister of the Ministry of the Interior, in a statement.

“The ministry will roll out and implement renovated security regulations at all government complexes by May, from steps to strengthen discipline to giving out security education to all officials,” he added.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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