Massive German banking data leak reported

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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Warnings appeared this weekend of an enormous data breach in Germany.

According to media reports, the accounts of 21 million German bank account holders are being offered for sale on the black market by a hacking gang.

In the course of the investigation for Wirtschaftswoche magazine, the two reporters say they were able to get hold of a CD ROM containing the names, addresses, and bank account numbers of 1.2 million people, although they had been offered data on 21 million people if they paid the criminals’ demands of 12 million euros.

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It hasn’t become apparent yet about how the criminals got their paws on the data, or where it originated from – but the fact that such a large number of individuals’ personal data are on sale on the black market will send a shiver down the spine of many.

Incidents like this wouldn’t be possible if there were tougher data security laws, enforcing the use of encryption and user authentication solutions. In addition, businesses should log and monitor how data is used and moved inside their organisation to get greater visibility of potential problem areas.

Time and time again we are reporting stories of major organisations who have been left with egg on their face after a data breach, and it’s left to the public to pick up the pieces.

* Image source: clockwerx’s Flickr photostream (Creative Commons 2.0)


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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