The personal information of almost 50 million Turkish citizens has been released by hackers who posted a database online.
This is the largest public leak of private information of its kind and the database posted contained over 49 million entries. Some of the entries include national ID numbers, addresses, birth dates and parents' names, making the victims of this leak prone to possible identity theft and fraud.
Included within the leak was a message to Turkey: “Who would have imagined that backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey would lead to a crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure?” Along with this message the hackers pointed out a lesson that all governments can learn from Turkey's mistakes: “Bit shifting isn't encryption.”
The hackers also highlighted the information of the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the former president Abdullah Gul in the leaked database.
Judging by the site where the data was leaked, an Icelandic group that specialises in leaking sensitive information may be responsible. The hackers used servers located in Romania to host their site and leak the database.
The Turkish government is not the only one to face a serious leak of private information at the hands of hackers. In April 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management revealed that hackers had managed to access information on more that 22 million U.S. federal employees, retirees, contractors and other people under its employ. Included in this attack was the loss of millions of sensitive and classified documents.
At a time when encryption is a much discussed topic, a leak of this magnitude only reinforces the necessity of having proper security protocols put in place for both businesses and governments.