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Mystery hackers claim Shanghai police breach and data theft from 1bn Chinese citizens

An unknown hacker or group of cyber actors have offered to sell more than 23 terabytes of stolen data allegedly from the Shanghai police breach, which has exposed sensitive information of up to a billion Chinese residents.

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Tue, 05 Jul 2022
Mystery hackers claim Shanghai police breach and data theft from 1bn Chinese citizens
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Industry experts have called this "the largest cyber security breach" that has impacted China. According to Bloomberg, the unidentified hacker, or hacking group, have posted an asking price of 10 bitcoin, worth around $200,000 for a chunk of the stolen information based on an anonymous post on an online cyber crime forum last week.

The person or group that claimed the attack offered to sell over 23 terabytes of sensitive information, which allegedly includes names, addresses, birthplaces, national IDs, phone numbers and criminal case information.

In a tweet, Zhao Changpeng, founder and chief executive officer of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, revealed the company had detected the breach of a billion resident records "from one Asian country". Changpeng did not specify a particular country in the Twitter post but moved to heighten verification procedures for potentially affected users.

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Shanghai police, the city authorities and Cyberspace Administration of China have not commented on the alleged hack.

China has been repeatedly identified as one of the world's biggest sources of cyber criminals, accused by the US and other nations of infiltrating systems in search of valuable data or intellectual property on behalf of domestic agencies.

Due to a lack of transparent reporting mechanisms, domestic breaches are rarely disclosed. According to Bloomberg, under Chinese law, the exposure of personal information can result in jail terms.

It's unclear how the alleged cyber attackers gained access to Shanghai police servers. While the scale of the alleged leak has alarmed the Chinese security community, speculation about the credibility of the claim has been questioned.

One popular theory about the breach involves a third-party cloud infrastructure partner – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co being the largest external cloud services.

[Related: Australia offers cyber-security assistance to Ukraine]

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