Back in December 2019, actor Ha Jung Woo received a mysterious KakaoTalk message from a man who introduced himself as Goho the hacker. In an exclusive re-telling of how Ha Jung Woo handled the conversation with the hacker, Dispatch praised the actor’s A+ trolling skills.
Goho approached Ha Jung Woo, claiming that he “replicated” the actor’s Samsung Galaxy cellphone and cloud account and gained full access to all kinds of personal information. At first, the actor ignored the message.
The hacker’s “threats” continued. As an exchange of his disposing of these personal information, Goho demanded approximately 1.2 million USD. Ha Jung Woo responded calmly, without “provoking” the hacker…
… so that he could secure the time to get some professional help. The actor focused on riding out the conversation. He casually tossed questions that could potentially lead to more clues on how, where, and why Goho is doing this.
After these messages from Goho between December 4-5, 2019, revealing that he has information on other celebrities as well, Ha Jung Woo had the digital forensics team look at his phone to officially start investigating the case. The actor later explained that he “wanted to stop the hacker from thinking this is possible at all.”
Once the authorities had their eyes on the case, Ha Jung Woo began “playing with the situation.” He befriended the hacker and kept him close on a string…
… and made sure that the hacker felt like he still had control over the negotiation.
In the meanwhile, Ha Jung Woo also found strange emails in his inbox suggesting that his cloud account had been accessed from elsewhere. This “evidence” got submitted to the police, who then traced the IP to potential suspects.
As the pace of the investigation picked up with Ha Jung Woo’s full cooperation, Goho grew anxious and began dropping the price from 1.2 million to 1 million, then to 970K USD.
The more lightheartedly Ha Jung Woo played along to the conversation, the more desperate Goho became.
By December 19, 2019, on the same day Ha Jung Woo’s K-Movie “Ashfall” premiered, Goho left his “final warning“. The hacker threatened to “cut off all communication and ‘attack’ if there is no response by 5PM.”
Look, I’m only human too. And I’m running really low on patience. I’m going to leave you the directions for handing over the money. Look at it and decide if you want to follow through. You can reply to me on Telegram. If I don’t hear back from you by 5PM, I’m going to cut off communicating with you and launch the attack. You have the final call. Make it count.
Fortunately, by this point, the police had successfully identified the hacker and Ha Jung Woo had no reason to interact anymore. Dispatch revealed that on April 7, 2020, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office arrested two people responsible for the hacking of 8 Korean celebrities including Ha Jung Woo — and collecting over 500K USD from 5 of them. The authorities thanked Ha Jung Woo’s KakaoTalk messages which played a crucial part in tracking down the culprits.