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538 Million Weibo Credentials Being Sold for Bitcoin on Dark Web

Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, has reportedly been hit by a data breach, with its 538 million user records being offered for sale on the dark web, according to local technology publication PingWest.

On March 19, a Weibo user found that 538 million Weibo users’ phone numbers were for sale on a Chinese dark web forum, of which 172 million pieces with personal data was just priced at 0.177 BTC ($1,100 at press time).

A screenshot of the dark web obtained by the news outlet showed that hackers had gained access to some of the platform users’ account names, passwords, ID numbers, geographical location, number of Weibo posts, number of followers and following, among other information.

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In response, the Director of Information Security at Weibo said that phone numbers were leaked due to brute-force matching in 2019 and other personal information were crawled on the Internet. The platform has reported it to the police and submitted related information for further investigation.

But the story didn’t end there. Later the day, a gray market trading the personal data above was found on Telegram.

One can send keywords to online robots in the Telegram group [社工库] to get personal information behind a social media account of anyone (not limited to Weibo accounts), such as express deliveries, hotel accommodation records, ID numbers, email addresses, and phone numbers. For example, after inputting a Tencent QQ (one of the largest instant messaging platform in China) number, some personal data related to the account including phone number, account password, user’s real name and home address will appear, but the key information is blurred unless payment is made.

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As its advertisement shows, 0.00678 BTC, or 0.358 ETH, can purchase 260 points used for the following trading – 10 points for an inquiry, 50 points for the personal data behind a social media account. And if the potential buyers don’t have any cryptocurrency, the agents in the group will recommend them to buy bitcoin/Ethereum on marketplaces like Localbitcoins, Paxful, Huobi, LOcalethereum, they even offer service of buying bitcoin for them.

As of press time, the Telegram group has seen a spike of more than 28,000 people flooding in since the news broke out the night before.

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