The popularity of stolen data bazaar BreachForums surged after it was used to sell a giant database of stolen information describing Chinese citizens, threat intelligence firm Cybersixgill said on Thursday.
The number of leaks posted on BreachForums increased – from an average of 14 a month to 52 per month – following the posting of the infamous billion-record Shanghai National Police database in early July, reported Cybersixgill.
That surge has also seen the forum feature many more conversations in Chinese.
“The new Chinese members seem to be interested in a wide variety of what the forum has to offer, including data leaks, streaming accounts, adult content, hacking courses, and cracking tools,” wrote Cybersixgill.
In response to potentially racist user complaints, the administrator of BreachForums addressed the site’s recent recruits with a plea to use English in forum interactions – using translation software if necessary.
The message, dated July 8, also clarified that the Shanghai police database is no longer for sale.
BreachForums message to Chinese users. Click to enlarge
The billion-record database allegedly stolen from the Shanghai National Police was posted for sale for 10 Bitcoin (around $200,000) in early July. The database contained names, addresses, birthplaces, national ID numbers, mobile phone numbers as well as details of crimes or cases related to Chinese citizens.
Although the police have not publicly commented on the leak, the forum has been blocked within China. And while VPN use is strongly discouraged and regulated within China, so are data breaches – and neither is going away.
Cybersixgill hypothesized the forum’s sudden popularity may be due to China-based criminals believing it is a likely source of useful data. The intelligence firm has also offered up the possibility that the Shanghai Police breach has led to copycat crimes. ®