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The authenticity of some of this data has been independently verified, but the true scope of the attack is unknown, as is the origin of these name and address lines.
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If confirmed, this data leak would be one of the largest in history. A hacker says that he stole the personal data of a billion Chinese and now sells this information on the Internet. A sample of 750,000 entries was uploaded with the names, mobile phones, identity numbers, addresses and dates of birth of those affected.
Promoted in an Internet forum at the end of June but only detected this week by computer security specialists, the database is sold for 10 bitcoins (more than 190,000 euros). AFP and cybersecurity experts were able to verify the authenticity of some of the data contained in this excerpt. Four of the twelve people contacted confirmed the accuracy of the information contained in the published database, such as their names and addresses. “I really don’t understand why my personal data was leaked”said a woman whose surname is Liu.
Other outlets also reviewed some random names, such as the Wall Street Journal (in English).
The true extent of the data leak remains to be confirmed. “There is no verification on the total number of entries and I am skeptical of the figure of one billion citizenssays Robert Potter, co-founder of the cybersecurity company Internet 2.0. This seems to come from multiple sources. Some come from facial recognition systems, others appear to be data collected during a census.”
The administration is very extensive in China and the authorities maintain extensive population databases. Growing public awareness has prompted lawmakers in recent years to strengthen data protection laws for individuals and businesses. Citizens, however, have little means of preventing the state from collecting their personal information.
Some of the data revealed by the hacker seems to come from the history of express delivery companies, which are highly developed in China. Other entries contain summaries of incidents (traffic accident, robbery, domestic violence, rape, etc.) reported to the Shanghai police. Some netizens have speculated that the data may have been hacked from a server of Chinese IT company Alibaba Cloud. Robert Potter, the cybersecurity expert, says he is convinced.