Giant data breach? Leaked personal data of one billion people has been spotted for sale on the dark web

Names, addresses, national IDs and mobile phone numbers -- along with police and medical records -- among information said to be up for sale.
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer
Image: Getty

Sensitive personal information about over a billion people has apparently been leaked from a government agency and put up for sale on the dark web, in what would be one of the biggest data breaches in history. 

Information that has been leaked is said to include names, addresses, national ID numbers and mobile phone numbers, along with police and medical records.

In a Tweet, Changpeng Zhao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, said, "Our threat intelligence detected 1 billion resident records for sell in the dark web", pointing towards a bug in a deployment by an unnamed government agency as the reason the data was able to be accessed. 

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He warned that the information stolen could have an impact on hacker detection and prevention measures. 

"It is important for all platforms to enhance their security measures in this area. Binance has already stepped up verifications for users potentially affected," said Zhao. 

Zhao doesn't name a particular country in his post. But according to Reuters, a user posting on a prominent underground hacking forum claimed to be selling a database containing over 23 terabytes of personal information belonging to 'billions' of Chinese citizens. 

Reuters said the hackers claimed that the information has been leaked from the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database and are offering it up for sale for 10 bitcoin -- currently around $200,000. Reuters was unable to confirm this and the police department did not respond to the news agency's requests for comment.


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