In recent days, a hacker wrote on a dark web forum that he had stolen an enormous amount of personal information on about 1 billion Chinese citizens from a police database in Shanghai, China. If confirmed, it would be the largest theft of personal information ever.
The data would include information about people’s names, addresses, places of birth, cell phone numbers and criminal records. The theft was announced on a forum frequented by hackers from around the world (Breach Forums) in a post published by a user named ChinaDan. In the post, the user wrote that he owns 23 terabytes of data, which is being sold for 10 bitcoins (about $200,000).
To confirm the authenticity of the data, the user provided a portion (750,000), a practice often used in similar cases. At the moment, the Chinese authorities have not commented on the news, which was first reported by the Asiamarkets website and then by all major international newspapers. However, it is known that in recent days on Weibo, the most popular Chinese social network, the use of hashtags containing hints of data theft has been blocked.
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In the past, the Chinese authorities have shown themselves to be very reticent and not very transparent in cases of theft of personal data, and therefore it is not surprising that once again there are no official communications: especially given the multitude of people who could be involved and as the theft may have been caused by a breach of the Shanghai Police’s computer security systems.
The R news agency and the Guardian wrote that they could not independently confirm the authenticity of the data offered for sale by ChinaDan. The Guardian wrote that they had contacted several numbers on the public list, but many were inactive.
Although there is no confirmation for the time being, there are still many concerns: Zhao Changpeng, CEO of Binance, one of the main sites for exchanging cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin), said that the news about the possible data theft had alarmed his company’s security officials. He also said verification processes have been stepped up to prevent bitcoins used to purchase this data from being traded on Binance.
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