Hacker Breaches Argentina’s National ID Database

Close up of Argentina Flag Hoister next to a Monument with a Statue of a Horse Drawn Chariot

The Argentine government has confirmed that a hacker breached its national registry and stole the identification information from its national registry.

The breach apparently took place last month. However, it was only brought to light after a newly created Twitter profile leaked the information of 44 celebrities. The list of famous personalities includes well-known journalists, global sporting superstars like Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, as well as many eminent politicians, including Argentine President Alberto Fernández.

The story was first reported by The Record, who also claim to be in contact with the hacker.

Argentina is home to over 45 million people. While it is unclear how much of its population has its information on the database, the hacker claims to have a copy of it all.

Details About the National Registry Data Breach

The database is officially titled RENAPER or Registro Nacional de las Personas (which translates to National Registry of Persons). RENAPER is responsible for issuing national ID cards to all Argentine citizens. It stores this identity information in a central database and can be retrieved by other government agencies should they need a citizen’s personal data.

The hacker said that the source of the leak was a “careless employee,” referring to one of their government personnel. The Argentine government is investigating eight employees to ascertain their role in the incident.

The Argentine Government only confirmed the breach after intense scrutiny from the public and media following the celebrity information leak.

At the moment, it seems the hacker has access to the following information of the victims:

  • Full name
  • Residential address
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Dates pertaining to ID cards (such as issue and expiry date)
  • Labor identification code
  • Trámite number (which loosely translates to “filing number”)
  • Citizen number
  • Government photo IDs

Hacker Threatens to Release and Sell More Data

According to Argentina’s Ministry of Interior, its security team found a query to the database that was issued “in the exact moment in which they were published on the social network Twitter.”

It has traced the query back to a VPN account assigned to the Ministry of Health. However, the Argentine government claims that “the database did not suffer from any data breach or leak.”

The hacker, upon being contacted by The Record, has disputed this claim. Furthermore, the hacker said they might publish the data of 1 or 2 million people in the next few days. They will also sell the information to interested parties.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.