Hacker claims China’s largest data breach with 1 billion resident records stolen: report

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A hacker has claimed to have stolen the records of one billion Chinese residents from Shanghai police in what could be considered the biggest data breach in the country’s history.

A post on hacker forums Breach listed information “about one billion Chinese national residents and several billion records” for sale for 10 Bitcoin, or about $200,000.

The poster, using the name ChinaDan, said on Sunday that the wealth of information included “name, address, place of birth, national identification number, mobile phone number, full details of the crime/case”.

The post remains unverified, but it has generated immense interest in China and abroad: users of China’s Weibo and WeChat platforms have expressed great concern and distress over the veracity of the allegation.

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People wearing protective masks walk in Yu Garden amid new lockdown measures in parts of the city to curb the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China.  June 10, 2022.
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People wearing protective masks walk in Yu Garden amid new lockdown measures in parts of the city to curb the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China. June 10, 2022.
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Reuters reported that Weibo blocked #dataleak from trending throughout Sunday.

Posters on the Breach forums analyzed a sample of the data and debated authenticity, largely due to the asking price for such valuable information.

Police officers patrol outside a high-speed train station in Hong Kong for President Xi Jinping's visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the city's handover to China, Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Police officers patrol outside a high-speed train station in Hong Kong for President Xi Jinping’s visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover to China, Thursday, June 30, 2022.
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

A poster called 10 Bitcoin “too cheap” for government information, especially since “you risk being hunted down and killed” for it, Asia Markets reported.

Forum admins closed the thread on Sunday evening, with an offer of 6 Bitcoins on the table at the time.

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Kendra Schaefer, a partner at consultancy Trivium China, said the breach would be “wrong, for a number of reasons” if found to be genuine.

“Obviously this would be one of the biggest and worst breaches in history,” Schaefer wrote on Twitter. “Secondly, China’s Personal Information Protection Law came out at the end of last year. It requires government organs to protect citizens’ information, which if the source is MPS, MPS failed to do it.”

Schaefer shared that the records “would also contain details of minors’ records,” making the breach also a violation of the Juvenile Protection Act.

“I’d be surprised if they didn’t also contain files on celebrities and underage government officials,” she wrote.

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One of the reasons the breach could have contained so much information is that Shanghai police would have access to a nationwide data-sharing system, giving access to more information than a regional police authority would. would have otherwise.

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