In early May of this year, a data breach was announced that exposed 1 billion people in China to potential hacking. The breach took place at the world’s largest food company, Nestle, and involved the theft of personal information from employees. The data included names, addresses, and telephone numbers. This is the biggest data breach ever, and it has raised concerns about the safety of the personal information of people in China.
Hackers claim to have obtained a large trove of the biggest data breach ever on 1 billion people through a Shanghai police, detailing the number of lives in a leak if verified, could be one of the biggest data breaches on record.
On the internet last week, a user goes by the name of ChinaDan displayed a catalog of more than 24 terabytes of data, containing what he claimed were information on more than 1 billion people and billions of attorney records for nearly 10 bitcoins. The estimated value of these data is over $200,000.
The data supposedly is based on a Shanghai police database containing information from various fields, including names, addresses, national registration numbers, and mobile phone numbers, as well as case details.
The Associated Press released a list containing people’s names, birth dates, current ages, and telephone numbers. One individual was identified as being born in the following year, with their date of birth listed as 1, indicating that minor data appears on the information retrieved in the breach.
The Associated Press was unable to confirm the authenticity of the data samples sent out to Shanghai police. A spokesperson for the police force did not return a request for comment by the Associated Press.
Censors moved to block searches for the keyword “Shanghai data leak” on social media platforms such as Weibo WB, -10.16 after the recent announcement of the Chinese data leak.
One person commented on how they weren’t convinced until they took the time to cross-check some of the leaked data online by searching for people on Alibaba.
“Everyone, please be careful in case there are more phone scams in the future!” they said in a Weibo post.
“Another person on Weibo commented on the thread about the leak, claiming that everyone is running naked, slang for being unable to perceive privacy. It’s horrifying.”
Experts have acknowledged this biggest data breach ever could be the largest in history.
Kendra Schaefer, a partner for technology at policy research firm Trivium China, said in a tweet that it’s “hard to parse truth from the rumor mill, but can confirm file exists.”
Kendra Schaefer, a lawyer specializing in legal issues for Trivium China, confirmed in a tweet that a file exists, but “hard to parse truth from the rumor mill, but can confirm file exists.”
According to Michael Gazeley, managing director at Hong Kong’s Network Box, these data breaches are becoming increasingly common.
“There are approximately 12 billion compromised accounts posted on the Dark Web right now. That’s more than the total number of people in the world,” he said, leaking the majority of information comes from the United States.
Chester Wisniewski, a principal research scientist at cybersecurity firm Sophos, said that a particular breach could doubtlessly be particularly embarrassing to the Chinese government, and such a breach of safety might very seriously injure hundreds of thousands of individuals.
Most of the data is similar to what advertising companies that run banner ads would have, he said.
“When you’re talking about a billion people’s information and it’s static information, it’s not about where they traveled, who they communicated with, or what they were doing, then it becomes very much less interesting,” Wisniewski said.
Data that hackers collect and remain on the internet is difficult to entirely erase.
“The information, once it’s unleashed, is forever out there,” Wisniewski said. If someone fears their confidential information was involved in the attack on themselves, it was developed for everyone’s viewing. So they’re encouraged to take defensive measures.
A major cryptocurrency exchange said that it’s working to increase account verification procedures in order to combat bad actors such as those who used personal info from the historically publicized attack to take control of people s accounts.
Zhao Changpeng, CEO of Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, tweeted on Monday that his company’s threat intelligence had detected the sale of 1 billion resident records.
“This has an impact on hacker detection/prevention measures, mobile numbers used for account takeovers, etc.” Zhao wrote in his tweets, prior to calling Binance, that Binance has enhanced authentication procedures.
In early 2020, a shocking Russian cyberattack was believed to have compromised several U.S. federal government departments, among them the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, telecommunications firms, and defense contractors.
Last year, more than 533 million Facebook users released their data found on a hacking site after a vulnerability that has since been patched.