It would be one of the greatest data breaches in history if a hacker’s claim that they acquired the personal information of 1 billion Chinese individuals from a Shanghai police database turns out to be correct.
According to the hacker community Breach Forums, a hacker simply known as “ChinaDan” offered to sell 23 terabytes (TB) of data for 10 bitcoin, which is around $200,000 (£165,000).
This database of the Shanghai National Police was breached some time in the year of 2022. Hundreds of terabytes of data and information on billions of Chinese citizens are included in this database, according to the article.
One billion Chinese citizens’ names, addresses, birth places, national ID numbers, cellphone numbers, and all crime/case details are included in the databases.”
The hacker’s identity is not known at this time. According to the Guardian, they were unable to verify the legitimacy of the post since numerous numbers in the sample database were no longer in use.
As of Monday, Chinese officials had yet to reply to the suspected data breach.
Yi Fu-Xian, a prominent scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that he had downloaded the sample data accessible on the internet and discovered information on his native county in Hunan province.
A remote Tibetan county with less than 2,000 people had data in the data he found, and the overall demographic trend he saw was “worse than the government have stated.” He said that the data he found includes information on almost every county in China.
A number of data leaks have occurred in China in recent years. Several high-ranking Chinese people, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, were exposed on Twitter in 2016.
In China, the authorities were worried by these instances. China approved legislation last year restricting the handling of personal data gathered inside the country’s boundaries.
Many Weibo and WeChat users were alarmed by ChinaDan’s tweet over the weekend, and it was extensively debated on both platforms.
By Sunday afternoon, Weibo has prohibited the term “Shanghai data leak,” however there are still a few Chinese social media talks regarding this occurrence. With some stating they had become “transparent human beings,” many expressed astonishment and dismay.
Tech policy researcher Kendra Schaefer at Beijing-based consultancy Trivium China noted on Twitter that “fact from rumour mill is hard to decipher.”
Schaefer said it would be terrible for “a variety of reasons” if the hacker claimed to have material from the Ministry of Public Security. I’m sure it would be one of the worst breaches in history,” he continues.
Following a security breach involving the dark web sale of documents belonging to one billion people in an Asian nation, Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng said on Monday that the cryptocurrency exchange has tightened its user verification procedures.
Following public concerns about data mishandling and exploitation, China has instructed its digital companies to store customer data in a more secure manner.