Chinese hackers are suspected of invading the network of a Taiwanese online job bank before the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday last week and stealing the personal information of more than 5.92 million job applicants, a preliminary investigation by national security officials showed.
The information was posted for sale on the “dark Web” — Internet networks that require specific software, configurations or authorization to access — under the account name “rootkit” for US$500 to US$1,000, officials said, adding that they found the information security breach by accident during a “deep Web” search on Saturday night.
Investigators suspected that the hackers were from China, as they wrote in simplified Chinese that they succeeded in hacking into the system of a well-known online job bank in Taiwan at the end of last month and were willing to sell the stolen personal data.
In addition to file numbers, the leaked information also included job applicants’ national identification card numbers, names, genders, birthdays, e-mail addresses, landline telephone numbers, mobile phone numbers, account usernames and home addresses, the officials said.
The oldest job seeker was born in 1962, whereas the youngest was born in 2000, they added.
Given that Taiwan has a working population of 12 million people, the incident has affected close to half of them, making it potentially the severest information security breach in the country, the officials said.
The consequences would be dire if the data were exploited by the Chinese Communist Party for propaganda purposes, they added.
The officials questioned the motive behind the information security breach, as the incident happened before the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday long weekend and China’s National Day, which fell on Thursday last week, adding that they are issuing warnings and conducting a comprehensive investigation into the case.
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