Hacker claims to have stolen personal data from a billion Chinese on Tuesday, July 5. He is now selling this information online. On an internet forum, the database can be purchased for 10 bitcoins (more that 190,000.00 euros).
This data leak, if confirmed, would be the largest ever discovered in human history.
The hacker uploaded 750,000 entries that include the names, ID numbers, addresses, dates of birth, and mobile phone numbers. The hacker appears to have some data derived from express delivery companies in China, which are highly developed.
Other entries include summaries of incidents such as traffic accident, robbery and domestic violence. The Shanghai police was notified.
AFP and cybersecurity professionals were able verify the authenticity of some data in the extract. The extent of the data leakage remains to be confirmed.
It seems that it comes from many sources. Robert Potter, cofounder of cybersecurity company Internet 2.0 said that some come from facial recognition systems while others are data collected during a census.
He points out that "there is not verification of the total number entries" and that he doubts the figure of one million citizens.
China has a large administration. The authorities also maintain large population databases.
In recent years, lawmakers have been able to improve data protection laws for both individuals and businesses due to growing public awareness.
However, citizens have very few options to stop the state collecting their personal data.
Four out of 12 people contacted AFP confirmed that the information in the database was correct, including their names and addresses.
One such person, a woman named Liu, stated that she didn't understand how her personal data was leaked.
Some internet users speculate that the data could have been stolen from the server of Chinese IT company Alibaba Cloud. Robert Potter, a cybersecurity expert, said he was convinced.
Contacted, Alibaba Cloud was not available for comment. The National Cybersecurity Administration also did not respond to AFP's request for comment.