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Shanghai police hack censored in China

Amid news of the alleged hacking of a Shanghai police database that could expose sensitive information about one billion Chinese citizens circulating on social media, Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat has reportedly begun to censor the topic.

user iconReporter
Wed, 06 Jul 2022
Shanghai police hack censored in China
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If the alleged breach is proven to be legitimate, the Shanghai police data hack could be one of the largest leaks of private information.

According to the Financial Times, hashtags such as "data leak," "Shanghai national security database breach" and "1 billion citizens' records leak", with millions of views and comments had been blocked on Weibo.

A hacker known as "ChinaDan" told members of the hacker site Breach Forums that he had acquired 23 terabytes of data on one billion Chinese citizens, according to Reuters. "ChinaDan" has reportedly advertised the sensitive data for sale in an online cyber forum with a price tag of 10 Bitcoin, approximately $200,000.

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A forum post detailed that the data haul for sale contains "databases contain information on 1 billion Chinese national residents and several billion case records, including: name, address, birthplace, national ID number, mobile number, all crime/case details", Bleeping Computer reported.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted that the records were detected to be up for sale on the dark web which was "likely due to a bug in an Elastic Search... deployment by a gov agency". Zhao added the company is "stepping up verifications" for its users whose have been impacted by the breach.

According to the Financial Times, one Weibo user with 27,000 followers stated that censors removed her viral post about the hack from the microblogging network and "that she had already been invited by local authorities to discuss the post".

A WeChat blogger commenting on the implications of the huge data breach on their public page named "JohnDoes loves study", was no longer available after being live online for 24 hours at the least, which suggests Tencent may have also removed the news, along with another public post by a well-known cyber security blogger.

Links to discussions about the hack on Zhihu are also inaccessible, and the topic did not turn in many results on Chinese search engine Baidu.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the national internet watchdog and authority for data security in the country, has not commented on the alleged breach. The Shanghai government has yet to respond to requests for comment about the alleged data leak and other Shanghai authorities have also remained silent.

[Related: Mystery hackers claim Shanghai police breach and data theft from 1bn Chinese citizens]

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