South Korea's national identity card system may need to be scrapped and rebuilt after it was revealed that it suffered huge data thefts dating back to 2004.
The government is considering issuing new ID numbers to every citizen aged over 17, costing billions of dollars. More than 80 per cent of the country's 50 million people have had details stolen from banks and other targets, say experts. Rebuilding the system could take up to a decade.
More than 20 million people, including the president Park Geun-hye, have been victims of a data theft from three credit card companies. It has reached a point where finding a way to completely solve the problem looks unlikely.
The ID cards were easy to steal because they were issued in the 1960s and still follow the same pattern. The first few digits are the user's birth date, followed by either a one for male or two for female. Their usage across different sectors makes them master keys for hackers. It is not helped that if the numbers are hacked the users cannot change them.