All eyes are on China after it recorded one of the biggest data breaches in history. An anonymous person claims to have hacked and stolen one billion people’s data measuring 23 terabytes. The hacker is said to have sold the data on the dark web for 10 BTC worth USD 203,562.
ChinaDan claims responsibility for the hack. He says he was successful in breaking into data from the Shanghai National Police and obtained a large amount of information related to names, addresses, national identity numbers, contact info numbers, and criminal records.
The hacker released the information in Breach Forum – a hacker forum. To show that he really had the data, the hacker provided a sample of 750 thousand records as proof! ChinaDan specified that the data was extracted from a private cloud provided by Aliyun – Alibaba’s cloud which is part of the Chinese police network.
The data breach ignited discussions on Chinese media platforms like Weibo, but censors were swift to block keyword searches for “Shanghai data leak”. A person said they were initially doubtful but then verified some of the personal data leaked by searching for people on Alipay using their personal information. Another person stated that the leak means that everyone is running naked.
Biggest breach in history
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Experts believe that this could be the biggest breach in history. Kendra Schaefer, a partner for technology at Trivium China, tweeted that it’s hard to parse truth from the rumor mill. Michael Gazeley, managing director at Network Box, believes such leaks are fairly common. He outlined that there are about 12 billion compromised accounts posted on the Dark Web – more than the total number of people in the world. And it should be noted that the majority of data leaks often come from the United States.
Chester Wisniewski, the principal research scientist at Sophos, said the breach is potentially embarrassing to the Chinese government. He pointed out that the political harm would outweigh the damage to the people whose data was leaked. Wisniewski said most of the data is similar to what advertising companies that run banner ads would have. And is static information, meaning that it’s not interesting at all.
Experts say it will be difficult to remove the data. Once published online, it’s forever out there.