58.com to step up security, after user-data theft

05 Apr 2017

58.com (NYSE: WUBA), China’s leading classifieds platform, hit the headlines when millions of CVs on 58.com’s job platform were put up for sale by a user on Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) Taobao platform. In addition to selling the CVs in bulk, the user also offered software for sale, with which to access 58.com user data.

A reporter of the website 21jingji.com purchased the software, and was able to access and download the CV’s of all current active job seekers on the 58.com platform, across 430 different Chinese cities. Available data included names, addresses, ages, phone numbers, user IDs and educational backgrounds.

58.com responded to the incident with a statement condemning the actions of the Taobao seller, and offering “a heartfelt thanks to the media for uncovering this”.

“The integrity of personal information provided by users and job seekers has always been our top priority, but the increasing coordination, sophistication and professionalism of hacking efforts necessitate that massive amounts of manpower are put into maintaining security,” 58.com added, and said, “we will be striving to improve our security systems, to resist this kind of black market (activity) and protect our users’ data”.

Although 58.com is coming under fire, the revelation is also everything but a good reflection on Taobao and parent company Alibaba, who have been pushing to rid the platform of illegal and black market activity. In December, Taobao was placed on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office “Notorious Markets” list for 2016 (which we reported on here). 

58.com’s full statement can be found here in Chinese.

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Tom Marling

Tom is a PhD candidate in Chinese History at Hong Kong Baptist University, and former PR consultant in Mainland China. He joined the AIM Group in 2016 as a writer/analyst.