From what happens to be a big shock for almost the entire global ARMY, private information associated with the BTS members has been allegedly leaked online. Reports have surfaced about a group of Indonesian hackers involved in unauthorized access and the sale of personal information belonging to BTS members. This sensitive information, including phone numbers, was reportedly exchanged through a Telegram group chat named OP BTS.
Creation of Telegram Channel
The incident came to light on August 28, 2023, when TenAsia, a Korean media outlet, reported that an Indonesian hacker collective had established a Telegram channel called OP BTS. The purpose behind this channel was to sell confidential details about the Bangtan Boys. For the unversed, the term “OP” stands for operation, which indicates the nature of their respective activities. The group posted advertisements offering BTS members’ phone numbers for a monetary fee, presumably targeting fans seeking insights into the lives of their favorite idols.
— BTS_official (@bts_bighit) August 23, 2023
Methods and Agency Response
The methods employed by this hacker group to acquire the personal information of BTS members remain undisclosed. BIGHIT MUSIC, the agency that represents BTS, has yet to respond officially to these allegations of hacking. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that BTS members have faced breaches of their privacy. In March, an employee of Korea Railroad Corporation accessed the personal details of RM, the leader of BTS, including his address and phone number. This act was attributed to curiosity. It also led to a public confession and an expression of remorse from the same employee.
Similar situations involving other BTS members have also come to light. In January 2023, details about Namjoon were discussed in various articles after his visit to Hwaeomsa Temple. Jungkook, too, encountered a privacy breach when someone claimed to possess his private information and made threats of leaking it on Instagram.
Privacy and Security Concerns
These incidents underscore the rising concern about privacy violations against celebrities, including K-pop idols. The phenomenon of sasaengs, or obsessive fans, exacerbates these challenges, posing threats to idols’ personal lives and safety. During the 2022 Grammy Awards, Jungkook experienced unexpected calls from unidentified numbers, revealing the extent of his vulnerability.
With the increasing popularity of K-pop, incidents like these highlight the need for heightened security measures and safeguards to protect idols’ personal information. While these incidents raise concerns, BIGHIT MUSIC has yet to issue an official statement addressing the matter, leaving fans and the public awaiting further updates.