Beware! Passports for sale on Hacking Forums in the apparent data breach

A hacker has made a post on two data breach hacking forums, offering up for sale 100 Australian passports.

The posts were made on 31 August and suggest the passport data was “leaked” on 25 August.

“I am selling a large number of Australian national passports, new and unused documents,” the posts say. “There are good prices for bulk buyers.”

The 100 “sets” include both a passport and the portrait used for the passport, and all 100 are available for a starting price of US$700. The poster – who goes under the name HMKadmin123 or HMKdocument – also offers a “quick sale” option of US$1,000.

By way of contact details, potential buyers are directed to a Telegram channel. The passports appear to be sold by the HMK Group (which is not affiliated with the company of the same name), which has posted both a sample Excel file with passport information, and a screenshot of a Windows folder containing pictures of both the passport’s ID page and the portrait photo themselves.

It is unclear whether the physical passports are for sale, or just images. Regardless, the data in the Excel file includes full names and dates of birth, as well as passport numbers – certainly enough to cause mischief.

All of the images are labelled GOV001_123a for the passport itself, and GOV001_123b for the separate passport photo. The Excel files also include – admittedly blank – fields for “Visa fee” and other details. Taken together, it suggests the leak could be related to a breach of a government agency.

Some passports do seem to be Australian, but others appear to be documents from other countries.

The HMK Group itself, and its documents leak channel on Telegram, appear to have been recently formed. The leak channel was created in May 2023 and has a handful of other passport leaks on offer, including ones with Vietnamese and Turkish documents.

However, one post offers a 10 per cent discount on purchases to celebrate the HMK Group’s first anniversary.

“Promotional Notice ‘Celebrating 1 year of HMK_Group’,” the post, made on 26 July 2023, says. “Sincerely thank customers for trusting and accompanying HMK_Group during the past time. We would like to send you a 10 per cent discount program for all orders with a minimum quantity of 300 pieces.”

How very kind.