Hacker Allegedly Steals Personal Data of 1 Billion Chinese Citizens

If confirmed, it would be one of the largest data breaches in history.

Attila Tomaschek
Attila is a Staff Writer for CNET, covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is an advocate for digital privacy and has been quoted in online publications like Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When not tapping away on his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.
Expertise Attila has nearly a decade's worth of experience with VPNs and has been covering them for CNET since 2021. As CNET's VPN expert, Attila rigorously tests VPNs and offers readers advice on how they can use the technology to protect their privacy online and
Attila Tomaschek
Black and white fingerprint with silhouette of a key on top

The data breach allegedly affected 1 billion Chinese citizens, making it one of the largest breaches in history if confirmed to be true.

Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

A hacking group claimed to have obtained the personal data of 1 billion Chinese citizens from the Shanghai National Police database, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. If confirmed, the incident would represent one of the largest personal data breaches in history.

The vast trove of personal data is being offered for sale online for 10 bitcoin (about $200,000). The hackers said they had 24 terabytes of data, consisting of billions of personal records including names, birth dates, addresses, mobile phone numbers and national identification numbers.

In addition to the personal information allegedly included in the breach, the data also purportedly includes Chinese citizens' police case records and detailed information on crimes and incidents reported to authorities from 1995 to 2019, the Journal reported.

Though it isn't immediately known who was behind the leak or how they obtained the data, a user identified only as "ChinaDan" offered the data for sale on the hacking forum Breach Forums last week.