According to PingWest, a Chinese technology publication, Sina Weibo, which most consider it the Chinese version of Twitter, had a data breach that caused 538 million records of its users to be exposed.
A platform user discovered on March 19 that 538 million Weibo users’ phone numbers were for sale on the dark web. The price for 172 million of these phone numbers was only 0.177 Bitcoin (BTC), which is about $1,150 at the moment. It seems the cyber-attackers gained access to information such as usernames, passwords, locations, ID numbers, Weibo posts, and other information details of the platform’s users without any problem.
Users’ Personal Information Circulating on Telegram
The Director of Information Security at Weibo tried to explain what happened by saying the phone numbers got leaked as a result of a 2019’s brute-force attack, resulting in users’ personal data ending up online. The police were informed about the breach and Weibo has an investigation underway.
Later on the same day, it was discovered on a gray market that was trading the personal data of these users on Telegram. The Telegram group has online bots that help with acquiring social media accounts’ personal information with the help of keywords as long as people are willing to pay.
Many Personal Details Can Be Revealed
Information such as records of hotel stays, express deliveries, phone numbers, and email addresses are easy to find online with the Telegram group. Just by inputting let’s say, a number from Tencent QQ, which is one of the biggest platforms for instant messaging in China, personal data like phone numbers, the account’s password and the user’s home address will be revealed. The essential information is blurred until a payment has been made to the Telegram group.
How Much Does Accessing Personal Data Cost?
With 0.00678 BTC or 0.358 Ether (ETH), a person interested in personal data can purchase 260 points. An inquiry costs 10 points, whereas the information associated with a social media account costs 50 points.
In case buyers don’t hold cryptocurrencies at all, they’re recommended to make a purchase of BTC or ETH from Paxful, LocalBitcoin, LocalEthereum or Huobi. Ever since the news about Weibo broke out, the Telegram group has seen over 28,000 new buyers.