Chilean Hacker Posts 6 Million People's Data Online

A prosecutor was appointed Monday to investigate how a computer hacker accessed government data for 6 million Chileans and posted it to the Internet.

Prosecutor Jose Ignacio Escobar, a specialist in high-tech crime, opened the probe as the government announced plans to step up data protection.

Police chief Jaime Jara said the weekend data leak did not include financial records and was less serious than first thought.

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The information accessed by a hacker included identity card numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mails and academic records.

"For what we have seen until now, the leaked data does not include information related to banking accounts, salaries or other economic aspects," Jara said.

The data was taken early Friday from servers at the Education Ministry, the Electoral Service and the military, he said.

The administrator of a local technology-oriented Web site, Leo Prieto, discovered the errant information on the Internet early Saturday and contacted police. It is not clear exactly when the data was posted online.

The information was promptly removed from the Internet, but Prieto said some people may have downloaded it "and it may still be around on the Internet."

Jara said police have no suspects. The hacker left a message saying he was trying "to demonstrate how poorly protected the data in Chile is, and how nobody works to protect it."

He signed off as "Anonymous Coward."

Deputy Telecommunications Minister Pablo Bello said the government is drafting legislation to improve protection of personal data. He did not elaborate.

Government agencies played down the significance of the breach.

The head of the Electoral Service, Juan Garcia, said the information from his agency that appeared on the Internet was not confidential but available to the public upon request.

"Our database is intact, secure and protected," he said.

The army said the hacker disclosed information pertaining to 8,919 youths out of 146,593 who have registered for military service.

The Education Ministry described its data as a list of credentials for students to get low fares for public transportation and university applications.

The leaked data includes around 2 million telephone numbers. There was no immediate comment from telephone companies.