Personal data of millions of Malaysians for sale?

24 October 2017

Data is the new currency of marketing, and recent data breaches are alarming to say the least.  

In a shocking development, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has ordered Lowyat.net to remove a report where the technology portal says is one of the country's biggest data breaches in Malaysia ever. 

Lowyat.net has since removed the story, citing "sources of breach still unknown”.  

The initial report was based on a tip-off someone was selling databases with Bitcoin of personal details of Malaysians on Lowyat Forums. 

Those who get hold of this data can fake documents for personal loans, credit cards and more without raising any suspicion.  

Apparently, on sale was 50 million entries of data from various telcos, including customer names, billing addresses, mobile phone numbers, sim card numbers, handset models and MyKad numbers, and this may have occurred anywhere between 2012-2015. 

The breach highlighted: 

- 17 million rows of customer information from a jobs portals, including candidate's name, login name, hashed password, email address, nationality, address and mobile phone number.  

- 2 sets of 20,000 and 62,000 data of doctors respectively, including MyKad numbers, operating addresses and mobile numbers, obtained from medical associations and 720,000 entries of housing loan applications.  

With crypto-currencies like Bitcoin, transactions have very light digital trails and this encourages the sale of illegally obtained data.

Of course MCMC cannot possibly guarantee every bit of data collected is secure, and neither can the Personal Data Protection Act be 100% foolproof. But sale of stolen data is prohibited and punishable by law. 

Looks like this may become the scary “new normal” of all of us! 

But the mother of all recent data breaches is when hackers accessed personal data of more than 145 million Equinox customers globally. 

Equinox later did a proper forensic audit and the information was made public. 

CNN Tech's Samuel Burke shares:  

LATEST: South Africa is investigating a data breach with personal details of more than 30 million citizens leaked on the internet

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