Turkey’s biggest national security problem

Turkey’s biggest national security problem

I don’t know how many people have got an e-password and used it on the www.turkiye.gov.tr website. Those who did will understand better what I’m talking about.

This website contains a database of information about every individual in Turkey: From social security data to traffic fines, from taxes you have paid or not unpaid to your health conditions. Everything there to know about you can be found on this site. 

The fact that all that information is under a single roof has terrified me since the day I came across this site. The security of this website, and the security of our data contained on that website represents our country’s greatest national security issue.

This data was recently stolen, but this did not make it onto the front page of any newspaper. Neither was it discussed in any TV program.

Worse, last week this data was uploaded to the Internet and anyone can now download it to their computer.
No one should be surprised if some people soon set up another website to open this data up for the access of the whole world.

Actually, such a big data theft happened in Turkey before, back in 2010. In July 2010 Istanbul police caught a network that was selling such stolen data. By the time the group was caught, the data had already been sold to approximately to 1,500 lawyers across Turkey. Lawyers were purchasing this data because it made their jobs a lot easier.

The police only knew about the lawyers. But the criminal network actually also sold this data to others too. Of course, other people with bad intentions bought the data.

Ever since then, there has been a tremendous increase in fraud based on theft in Turkey. This fraud is committed by criminal organizations with access to this information.

PKK has the stolen data

Is this data in the hands of only crime organizations? No, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) also probably has the data.

The police has been struggling for some time with small quantities of money being transferred from abroad to Turkey. From Europe, the PKK is sending around 1,000-2,000 euros to Turkey.

The people on the receiving end in Turkey are those with fake identities; in other words, criminals who are using stolen identities.

It is not difficult to guess that the PKK and other criminal gangs are doing many illegal activities, from buying telephones with fake cards to renting cars with fake identity cards, just like the one used in the latest Ankara attack.

Is the BDDK’s data stolen too?

In the fraud cases we come across recently, it is estimated that criminals have information that goes beyond simple identity cards but includes information about bank accounts too.

 Perhaps virtual thieves have stolen the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency’s (BDDK) data too, or they have collaborators inside the BDDK. 

Worse, some hackers have now made it possible to download this data to computers.

Honestly, I learned about it from a blogger and I am curious why we are not debating this issue.

There is a possibility that the individual data of Turkish citizens is accessible to anybody. 

And there is nothing we can do, no measure we can take to protect ourselves.

And the irony is the parliament started this week on a law to protect private data. Our state could not protect the data we trusted it with, as it was stolen.

It is good that we will have a law but that in itself is not enough. We need to be sure that the state takes measures to protect the data that we give it.