Austrian Citizens Aren't Going to Like This News

Police say hacker took personal data for nearly every person living there, put it up for sale
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2023 7:26 AM CST
Austrian Citizens Aren't Going to Like This News
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/dusanpetkovic)

If you live in Austria, chances are good that some of your personal information is now accessible to criminals. That's because police have revealed that a suspect they nabbed in November got their hands on data for pretty much every Austrian citizen and put it up for sale on the internet, reports Reuters. According to a police statement, someone in an online forum in May 2020—likely the hacker themself—tried to hawk "the full name, gender, complete address, and date of birth" for about 9 million people in the European nation, which has just about that number of people living within its borders.

Authorities say the hack was carried out from the 25-year-old suspect's apartment in the Netherlands, per the Metro, and that it appears a sale went through, to unknown individuals. "Since this data was freely available on the internet, it must absolutely be assumed that these registration data are, in full or in part, irrevocably in the hands of criminals," reads the police statement. The stolen data—registration information that Austrians must provide to authorities—has been confirmed as real by investigators.

Police note that the suspect had been known by international authorities before their arrest and is the subject of a probe by Dutch law enforcement and judicial officials. That's also why authorities waited months to reveal the data breach, as they didn't want to mar those investigations. Officials say the suspect was in possession of "similar data sets" from their home country, Italy, and Colombia that they tried to sell, though details on those cases are sparse. (More Austria stories.)

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