China censors news of alleged hacking of Shanghai police database

China is quick to censor news of alleged hacking of a Shanghai police database, which is threatening to leak the personal information of more than 1 billion people in what could be one of the biggest leaks of private information of all time.

An anonymous hacker promoted the data on an online cybercrime forum late last month, claiming the full file up for sale contained terabytes of details, including the names, addresses, IDs, phone numbers and criminal records of more than 1 billion Chinese.

The alleged hack briefly caused an uproar on Chinese social media over the weekend, but as of Monday, Tencent’s microblogging network Weibo and WeChat had begun censoring the issue.

Hashtags like “data leak,” “Shanghai national security database breach,” and “1 billion citizen records leak,” which had amassed millions of views and comments, were blocked on Twitter such as Weibo.

A Weibo user with 27,000 followers said a viral post about the hack was removed by censorship and she had already been invited by local authorities to discuss the post.

Tencent’s WeChat also appears to have removed the messages, including a public post by a well-known Internet security bloggers. The post, published on blogger JohnDoes loves study’s public page, details the impact of the massive data breach. It was no longer available on Tuesday.

Chinese search engine Baidu showed few results on the topic, with links to discussions of the Zhihu hack inaccessible since Tuesday.

The hacker, writing under the name ChinaDan, uploaded a description and an example of the data transfer to the online forum and gave a purchase price: 10 bitcoins, or about $200,000.

While the US often accuses With Chinese hackers stealing information about American citizens and probing their networks, Beijing has long dismissed these claims, claiming that it was instead the country that faced the greatest number of cyber intruders.

Usually, these leaks remain hidden from the public as companies and governments across the country prefer to say little about data leaks.

Shanghai authorities did not comment on the alleged data leak. The Shanghai government did not respond to a request for comment, and the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which oversees the country’s Internet and is responsible for data security, did not respond to faxed questions.

The hacker said the stolen information was obtained from a private cloud service owned by internet company Alibaba. Alibaba declined to comment.

The veracity of the data remains unclear. Some users writing on the cybercrime forum said that the data sample included package pickup details, suggesting it could be information from a delivery company rather than a police database. But the Wall Street Journal reported that at least some of the information provided was genuine.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of crypto exchange Binance, wrote on Twitter that the company had discovered the hack and speculated that a government developer accidentally posted credentials to access the database on an online forum.

The Internet in China was once full of citizens’ personal information for sale. But CAC has largely cleaned that up in recent years, enacting some of the world’s toughest data security laws.

Additional reporting by Cheng Leng in Hong Kong and Nian Liu in Beijing

China censors news of alleged hacking of Shanghai police database Source link China censors news of alleged hacking of Shanghai police database

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