We might be in some serious trouble here. It’s being reported that a Chinese company with links to the military and intelligence networks in Beijing has gathered a vast database of detailed personal information about 2.4 million people, including 1,400 Malaysians.
The database was leaked from Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data, which is believed to be used by China’s intelligence service, according to a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
The leak raises further questions about the spread and extent of China’s intelligence-gathering operations, as Zhenhua has the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients.
Chris Balding, who had been working at Peking University until 2018 left China in fear for his physical safety after the database was leaked to a Vietnam-based US academic.
There are 1,400 Malaysians, 2,100 Indonesians, 52,000 Americans, 35,000 Australians, 10,000 Indians, 9,700 Britons, 5,000 Canadians and 138 from Papua New Guinea that among the 250,000 records recovered by a Canberra cybersecurity company.
“China is absolutely building a massive surveillance state both domestically and internationally,” Balding told ABC.
Most of the information came from social media which includes date of birth, address and marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives. Basically if your social media is public, then it’s pretty easy for anyone to access these information.
However, there are some profiles contained information such as confidential bank records, job applications, and psychological profiles were probably obtained on the dark web.
Zhenhua boasts about 20 “collection nodes” scattered around the world, two of which have been identified in Kansas, the U.S., and Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
Speaking of personal information being leaked, just last month Singaporean newspaper, Straits Times revealed that around 70 documents belonging to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) have been leaked through the dark web.
A few hours after it was made public, RMN responded that the issue was being investigated and then confirmed the next day that the leaked information does not jeopardise RMN’s operations.