A hacker says he stole 1 billion records about Chinese people from the police.

SHANGHAI— A hacker says he got personal information on one billion Chinese people from the Shanghai police. Tech experts say that if this is true, it would be one of the largest data breaches in history.

Last week, an anonymous Internet user named “ChinaDan” posted on the hacker forum Breach Forums offering to sell more than 23 terabytes (TB) of data for 10 bitcoin, which is about $200,000.

“In 2022, the database of the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) was lost. “This database has many TB of data and information about Billions of Chinese citizens,” the article said.

“Databases have information on 1 billion Chinese citizens and several billion case records, such as names, addresses, birthplaces, national ID numbers, cell phone numbers, and all crime/case details.”

Reuters was not able to confirm that the post was real.

On Monday, the government and police of Shanghai did not answer requests for comment.

Reuters also couldn’t get in touch with ChinaDan, who said he was a hacker, but the post was talked about a lot on China’s social media sites, Weibo and WeChat, over the weekend, with many users worried that it might be true.

By Sunday afternoon, the “data leak” hashtag was taken down from Weibo.

In a tweet, Kendra Schaefer, who is in charge of tech policy research at Beijing-based consulting firm Trivium China, said, “It’s hard to tell the truth from the rumour mill.”

Schaefer said that the information the hacker said he had from the Ministry of Public Security would be bad for “a number of reasons.”

She said, “It would be one of the biggest and worst breaches in history.”

Zhao Changpeng, the CEO of Binance, said on Monday that the cryptocurrency exchange had made it easier to verify users after its threat intelligence found that records for 1 billion people living in an Asian country were being sold on the dark web.

He said on Twitter that a leak could have been caused by “a bug in an Elastic Search deployment by a (government) agency,” but he didn’t say if he was talking about the Shanghai police case. He didn’t answer right away when asked for more information.

The claim of a hack comes at a time when China has promised to do more to protect the privacy of online users. It has told its tech giants to make sure that data is stored in a safer way after complaints from the public about mismanagement and misuse.

Last year, China made changes to its laws about how to handle personal information and data made within its borders.

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