Chinese Premier stresses data security after huge breach affects 1 bn residents

Rattled at the alleged data leak of nearly 1 billion residents, China Premier Li Keqiang has stressed data security, calling on government bodies to “defend information security”, media reported on Friday.

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the Premier said that Chinese government bodies must “defend information security to protect personal information, privacy and confidential corporate information”.

The comments came after sensitive personal information about more than a billion Chinese was leaked, possibly from the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database, and put up for sale on Dark Web for 10 Bitcoins earlier this week.

The data included names, addresses, identification numbers and mobile phone numbers. The size of the alleged hack has triggered serious concerns in China, at a time when state authorities are allegedly collecting data from its citizens for social surveillance.

“China has 1.4 billion people. The seller claimed to include the data of 1 billion, and considering it was leaked from the police database, the quantity and quality of the data could be quite high,” said Zhao Xuan, a cybersecurity lawyer at Beijing Bairui Law Firm.

Those responsible for the leak and hacking could be charged under China’s criminal law.

“In 2022, the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database was leaked. This database contains many TB of data and information on Billions of Chinese citizens,” said the post by the user named ‘ChinaDan’ that also went viral on social media platforms.

The data breach was also referenced by rights activist Fu Xianyi on Twitter, who said the leak was from the “Shanghai public security database”.

“Most likely it was leaked from Alibaba Cloud,” reports said.

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