Massive data leak in Turkey reveals information about 50 million citizens, investigation launched
Supporters wave flags as they watch as Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurates the Diyanet Islamic Cultural Center in Lanham, Maryland on April 2, 2016. (Olivier Douliery)
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation Wednesday after hackers posted personal information about 50 million Turkish citizens online, in one of the largest public data leaks of its kind, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.
“The number [almost 50 million] is close to the number of Turkish voters. This information about voters is also shared with political parties, and it should be examined whether or not they are the source of the leak. All necessary investigations have been launched,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
The Associated Press partially verified the authenticity of the data leak by running 10 private identity numbers against names in the database. Eight of ten were a match.
The leak, which contains national ID numbers, birthdays, addresses, and parents' names, puts some 62 percent of Turkish citizens at risk of identity theft and fraud.
The hackers, who made the information available on a website, highlighted the personal information of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his predecessor Abdullah Gul, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
The leaked information was posted with a message: "Who would have imagined that backwards ideologies, cronyism and rising religious extremism in Turkey would lead to a crumbling and vulnerable technical infrastructure?"
Meanwhile, Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala has said there is "nothing to worry about," and Communication and Maritime Affairs Minister Binali Yildirim dismissed the report as an "old story" from 2010.
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