Report: Personal Details of Nearly 50 Million Turks Leaked Online

'Do something about Erdogan!' individual who leaked data writes; Israeli security firm says on its face at least, the leak appears to be genuine and contains wealth of information about each individual.

Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron
A screenshot of the leaked database (some details are blacked out)
A screenshot of the leaked database (some details are blacked out)Credit: Hacked-DB
Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron

A huge database purportedly containing the personal details on 49.6 million Turkish citizens was leaked to the internet, various sources have reported on the Web. There has not, however, been confirmation that the database is genuine and credible.

The Israeli firm Hacked-DB Security, which monitors the database leaks, informed Haaretz of the apparent case of the compromising of the data from Turkey and said that on its face at least, the information appears genuine and contains a wealth of information about each individual.

A website that contained the links to the files has said the data include the individuals' full name, their parents' names, their ID number and gender and additional details. The information "on its face" appears to be from the Turkish population registry, Oren Yaakobi of Hacked-DB told Haaretz.

One individual or group of individuals who released the data also took the opportunity to sarcastically level criticism at the Turkish government and Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying: "Who would have imagined that backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey would lead to a crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure?"

In an indication that the writer was outside of Turkey, there was also this admonition to the Turks: "Do something about Erdogan! He is destroying your country beyond recognition." And in a dig at American Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, there was this: "Lessons for the U.S.? We really shouldn't elect Trump, that guy sounds like he knows even less about running a country than Erdogan does."

Yogev Mizrahi of Hacked-DB said that despite the need to exercise considerable caution on the case, the leak appears to be exceptional in the amount of data involved. "The extent of the leak and the type of information leaked don't appear routine. If I understand correctly, it involves about 75 percent of the population of Turkey. That recalls the leak from the Israeli population registry database, but with much larger numbers." The Israeli case is a reference to software called Agron, which was released in 2006 with a database of information on Israeli citizens.

As with the Israeli leak, information on individual citizens can be used improperly to pose as those individuals in an effort, for example, to break into bank accounts. "The implications of the breach are very serious," said Yaakobi regarding the Turkish case. "They could lead to a rash of attacks," he added, including identity theft, trafficking in information and gathering of intelligence information on individuals.

Such leaks are also cited by opponents of Israel's plans for a biometric database, which has been launched on a pilot basis. The concern is that from the moment that a leak occurs, it is impossible to rectify the situation since the data is already out in public.

A reply to a request by Haaretz to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for comment has not yet been received.

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