In a massive data leak, cybersecurity experts have discovered that a Chinese company named Zhenhua Data, located in Shenzhen, has an enormous list of the personal details of millions of people worldwide.

Chinese Tech Company Data Leak

In a report by The Guardian, the Chinese company reportedly links to the country's intelligence and military networks, and experts are worried about the big data's possible intent.

Based on the report, the tech company has the personal data of around 2.4 million people worldwide, including names of famous and prominent people such as the United Kingdom's prime minister Boris Johnson, Scott Morison, and the members of their families.

Speaking of families, it also appears that the Royal family's details were included in the big data, along with details of other people from the military and celebrities.

The data was leaked to American academic Christopher Balding, who used to reside in Shenzhen in the past but has since returned to the US for security reasons.

After acquiring the data from an insider that "had put themselves at risk," Balding sent the data to Internet 2.0, a Canberra-based cybersecurity consultancy that worked with both the American and Australian governments for recovery and analysis.

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Big Data Including Personal Details

Experts from the cybersecurity company have claimed that they have uncovered the records of approximately 250,000 people, including around 800 New Zealanders, 10,000 Britons, 35,000 Australians, and 52,000 Americans.

"From politics to organized crime or technology and academia, just to name a few, the database flows from sectors the Chinese state and linked enterprises are known to target," Balding said.

According to analysts, they believe the people's details on the Zhenhua Data list came from public open-source data, such as social media accounts.

However, the data itself was "technically complex" and used various "very advanced language, targeting, and classification tools."

Comment From Zhenhua Data

A representative of the Zhenhua Data surnamed Sun and identified herself as head of business in the tech company has reached out to the news outlet after they have asked for any comments and said that "the report is seriously untrue" and that their data are public and can be accessed by anyone on the internet.

Furthermore, the representative insisted that they do not collect data.

"This is just data integration. Our business model and partners are our trade secrets. There is no database of 2 million people," Sun said. 

Moreover, Sun confirmed the existence of such a database known as the Overseas Key Information Database (OKID), but it apparently merely connects people to the type of social media platform they use, and it is for research.

Sun said such a database is common.

The company representative has also denied the company's alleged link to China's government and military, saying they are a private company and that they work with business groups as well as research organizations.

Nevertheless, Internet 2.0 co-founder Robert Potter said in an interview that although the details are from open-source data, it doesn't mean people want it to be public.

As of writing, experts are still uncertain what the data is used for.

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Written by: Nhx Tingson

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