Hackers post 50 million Turkish citizens’ personal information online

Turkish Citizenship Database Live On Dark Web

Hackers have posted on the dark web the National ID Numbers, addresses and parent names of 49 million Turkish nationals – representing over 60% of the population of Turkey.

The hack was initially publicized back in April 2016, but Turkish civil servants have suggested that the information on the database was recorded back in 2009. The site containing the information is currently live on the dark net under the Tor Onion domain http://torc5bhzq6xorhb4.onion/.

The publishing of personal information (commonly known as Doxing) was apparently in protest at the leadership of Erdogan. In a message written on a dark net site, the hackers responsible taunt the ‘crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure’ resulting from ‘backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey’ that allowed them to access the data. The post is concluded with a demand to ‘do something about Erdogan!’.

The information of President Erdogan is pulled from the database as an example:

-[ RECORD 1 ]------------+-------------------------
uid                      | 33693950
national_identifier      | 17291716060
first                    | RECEP TAYYIP
last                     | ERDOGAN
mother_first             | TENZILE
father_first             | AHMET
gender                   | E
birth_city               | ISTANBUL
date_of_birth            | 26/2/1954
id_registration_city     | RIZE
id_registration_district | GUNEYSU
address_city             | ANKARA
address_district         | KECIOREN
address_neighborhood     | KAVACIK SUBAYEVLERI MAH.
street_address           | KUSADASI SOKAK
door_or_entrance_number  | 26
misc                     |

Despite its focus on internal Turkish politics, the site that hosts the database is written by a non-Turk. It was also written in seemingly native English. Tor and other proxy networks are stringently censored in Turkey, and consequently it would be extremely difficult to post or access this page from within the Eurasian state.

Turkey is deadly serious when it comes to the issue of cyber-vigilantism; they became the first nation to condemn a group of hackers under terrorism charges. The group was known as RedHack, a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ cause that counts the Turkish army and its National Intelligence Agency amongst its list of scalps. 17 alleged members of the groups were arrested without charge back in 2012.

Doxing is becoming an increasingly popular method of vigilante justice in cyberactivist groups such as Anonymous, Lulzsec and Antisec, drawing much public outrage at the collateral damage suffered by ordinary citizens in many cases.

On one hand, Anonymous received praise for revealing names of KKK members in Missouri following protests of the shooting of Michael Brown; on the other, the contact details of female voters in Turkey were controversially released in 2016 – the second high-profile doxing attack to humiliate Turkish officials in the same year. This case drew a backlash against the security blogger Michael Best due to the apparent danger presented to the victims living in a society containing extreme Islamist fringes with highly negative attitudes towards women in politics.

In an opaque and murky online world, the issue of tangible identities and real-life information has inevitably been weaponized, in some cases for political grandstanding, but dangerously in many more cases for revenge or sheer anarchy. This latest sizeable data leak has naturally split opinion, but will not be the last.

The emails of Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak, coined as ‘Berat’s Box’. were released in December 2016 and are still being dissected. Containing revelations of Turkish officials profiteering from ISIS-obtained oil, the ruling AKP party will surely be relieved that extreme censorship is in place to prevent Turks from accessing the documents.

If you are new to Tor, here is a download link and a quick guide.

Wikileaks Decrypted | Turkish Citizenship Database