AliExpress, Amazon and Ebay are the three best examples to use when describing online shopping through a website in e-Commerce and Marketplace formats. In fact, China’s AliExpress, affiliated with the Alibaba Group, a huge private Chinese consortium dedicated to internet commerce in all its forms, gained so much ground in such a short time that it became a major competition for Jeff Bezos’ website in 2018.
Amazon is the website that sells the most in the world, except in one part, the area that always resists: China, where the Alibaba group continues to dominate e-commerce.
Alibaba hacked: millions of data leaked
Web scraping is a technique used by computer programs to extract information from websites. Normally, these programs simulate a human’s navigation on the World Wide Web, either by using the HTTP protocol manually or by embedding a browser in an application. In recent years, web scraping has become a common technique within the web positioning industry thanks to its ability to generate large amounts of data to create high-quality content. But it is also a technique that can be used illegally as such.
And that’s exactly what happened to Alibaba: According to Bloomberg media, Chinese business giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. fell victim to a months-long web scraping operation. An operation carried out by a marketing consultant who diverted sensitive data, including usernames and phone numbers, according to a lawsuit that took place in June.
A court in central China ruled that an employee of a consultancy that helps merchants in Alibaba’s Taobao online shopping center has been guilty of extracting more than 1 billion data from Taobao users since 2019, which it uses to serve customers. to serve. customers. The court imposed prison terms of more than three years on the employee and his employer, along with fines totaling 450,000 yuan (58,000 euros to exchange).
Alibaba Group has wanted to clarify in a statement: “None of the customer data has been sold and Alibaba users have not suffered any financial losses” for what happened. So if you’re a AliExpress user, don’t worry as the data breach/theft did not affect the China Marketplace platform and no one has your account, password or purchase details.
However, the incident coincides with Beijing’s growing efforts to gain ownership and control of the vast amounts of digital information that internet giants from Alibaba to Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Meituan daily collecting hundreds of million users, to hone. In fact, the e-commerce giant’s shares fell more than 1% in Hong Kong trading on Wednesday after hearing the matter.
“Taobao devotes significant resources to combating unauthorized scraping on our platform as privacy and data security are paramount. We have discovered and proactively addressed this unauthorized scraping,” a Taobao spokesperson noted in a statement, acknowledging that they had suffered a breach of their security and encryption system. “We will continue to work with law enforcement to defend and protect the interests of our users and partners.”
Ability to fine and close
China’s new data security regime will come into effect on Sept. 1, giving the Xi government the power to shut down or fine tech companies that mishandle “basic state data.” The legislator is also preparing a law on the protection of personal data that is expected to be passed this year.
This action is taking place in China, parallel to debates in the United States, where lawmakers have called for the dissolution of internet titans like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. and in Europe, where regulators have prioritized antitrust actions and give users more control over data.