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Tens of millions of Chinese Internet users have had to change their online passwords, after at least two hacking incidents were confirmed last week. It's raising concerns over online data protection, especially with authorities now requiring that users provide their personal details when registering social media accounts.
Hackers stole data from more than six million accounts registered to CSDN—China's largest website for programmers—last Wednesday. State-run Xinhua News Agency reported hackers published user IDs, emails and passwords online in plain text—meaning anyone could access and read the information.
On Sunday, one of China's largest social media websites, Tianya, reported that 40-million users' account information had been stolen and leaked.
The hacks happened in the same week when authorities started requiring that microblog users register with their real names. Some believe the two may be related.
[Mr. Wang, Co-founder, Chinalabs.com]:
"I think this is a payback for the 'real name registration' system. A similar thing happened in South Korea when hackers leaked account passwords—when real name registration was imposed. Korea ended up scrapping those plans. So I think China may be facing a similar problem. With this real name registration, if authorities cannot guarantee the protection of the data, then the system can't be implemented."
For now, websites are asking affected users to change their passwords. But analysts like the former president for Yahoo China, Xie Wen, say that won't solve the problem because China's cyber security is low.