Massive Qatar bank hack leaks data on royals, spies & Al Jazeera staff – reports

© Fadi Al-Assaad
The names, bank passwords and other sensitive data on Qatari royal family members, alleged intelligence agents and Al Jazeera staff have reportedly been leaked following a massive hack attack on the Qatar National Bank.

A 1.4GB file emerged online on Wednesday and reportedly contains hundreds of thousands of entries, including customer transaction logs, PIN codes and credit card data.

The leak was initially uploaded at the website, but was quickly removed without explanation, according to the International Business Times.

A “SPY, Intelligence” folder included an array of records listed as Ministry of Defense, MI6 (the British intelligence agency) and Qatar's State Security Bureau, also known as Mukhabarat, International Business Times reported.

The newspaper said the MI6 file is found next to similar files relating to Polish and French intelligence and contains “an in-depth report of alleged agents” including the names of close relatives, phone numbers, credit card information and social media accounts.

There are roughly a dozen of these detailed intelligence files in the data leak.

The data dump also has a folder labeled “Al Jazeera” that stores a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with over 1,200 entries, including the TV channel staff’s national IDs, phone numbers and even home addresses.

A number of Al Jazeera staff have told the Doha News outlet that data found in their section of the leak is mostly accurate. Gordon Hickey, who reportedly left Al Jazeera English last July, has said that a friend had called him on Wednesday afternoon to tell him that his bank account and PINs were available on a data leak website – and that he had the word “SPY” attached to his folder.

“He was kind of joking, but he did ask whether I was a spy,” Hickey said. “This could have serious implications for me traveling. It’s not a nice thing.”

Another Al Jazeera reporter, Bernard Smith, said: “The details they had for me were mostly correct – I had changed my credit cards just a few months ago after losing them, but other information such as my passwords and contact details were all accurate. I was very shocked to see my details online.”

Smith added that the QNB representative he has spoken to confirmed the bank was aware of the data breach, but not the scale of it.

It is still not known how up to date the leaked data is, or when it went public. The Qatar National Bank said in a statement that it could not comment on “reports circulated via social media.”

“QNB Group places the highest priority on data security and deploying the strongest measures possible to ensure the integrity of our customers' information.  QNB is further investigating this matter in coordination with all concerned parties.”

The QNB is headquartered in Qatar’s capital Doha, and is the second-largest bank in the Middle East and Africa in terms of overall assets. It has an annual profit of almost $800 million.