Massive Cyber Breach Linked to Chinese Hackers
An unidentified group of dark web threat actors has yet to be discovered after breaching a Shanghai police database – Stealing data on over a billion Chinese residents. Cyber security giants are calling this China’s largest cybersecurity breach of all time.
It all started with an anonymous post on an online cyber crime forum, in the first week of July. In this post, the hacking group offered more than 23 terabytes of stolen data for sale. Data that would be discovered to be from the Chinese criminal justice database; with addresses, names, birthplaces, government IDs, criminal information, and phone numbers are just a few among the endless pools of data. The price tag on this heist? Only ten Bitcoins. Roughly US$200,000.
The sheer magnitude of this leak has left a lasting impression of humility on the justice system of China, sending waves of speculation, not only concerning the claimant’s credibility but how the breach on a maximum security establishment even occurred in the first place.
China Identified as Hackers’ Haven
Founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, Zhao Changpeng, announced in a Twitter post that the company discovered a breach of approximately one billion resident records from “a particular Asian country”. While they did not specify which, they have since increased verification procedures for potentially affected users.
Over the last few decades, several countries, including the United States, have identified China as a lucrative hub for cyber criminals. These criminals often side with their government and infiltrate other government systems in hopes of finding intellectual, or valuable property.
However, domestic violations like these are completely different – they’re rarely disclosed due to the heavy ‘cover-up’ culture in China, causing a lack of transparency. Only two such cases have occurred in China and they are years apart.
Hackers Exposed China’s Dirty Secret
In 2016, sensitive information on dozens of Communist Party officials, including Wang Jianlin and Jack Ma was leaked on Twitter. In 2020, Twitter-esque service, Weibo Corp. announced that hackers stole account information from nearly 600 million users.
More recently, was the exposure of China’s remote Xinjiang region, which leaked new evidence on what was originally considered ” fictitious” by the Chinese government; the malicious abuse of mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs.
This incident alone may very well be proof that China has a cyber storm brewing, as Beijing struggles to collect data on hundreds of millions of people while tightening controls on sensitive online content. As of now, personal information disclosure officially warrants jail time under Chinese law.