Hacked details of 100,000+ UK gun owners published online

Thieves are targeting gun-owners and police say a link with the Guntrader leak cannot be ruled out.

A Newton-on-Trent home was burgled in August 2021 and guns taken (reported here). Police say thieves grabbed a shotgun, air rifle, ammo and jewellery.

Another Fieldsports Channel viewer reports receiving phone calls from men offering to buy his guns. Police took this seriously enough to deploy an armed response team to guard the man’s house for four days. 

The news in July that antis had their hands on Guntrader website user data, made UK gun owners nervous. That feeling was aggravated by the release in late August of a Google Earth overlay, pinpointing the addresses of anyone who registered with the site after 2016.

Available on the Hunting Leaks website, which is based beyond UK jurisdiction in Iceland, the antis ask their supporters, ‘please do contact as many as you can in your area and ask them if they are involved in shooting animals’.

Desmond – not his real name – tells Fieldsports News that the leak has made him wary about websites that store his personal details.

“Not just shooting-related websites,” he says. “It’s just anything now, even with whatever controls they have in place or laws we have in place, how easy they seem to have been retrieved.”

A statement from Guntrader says that using the stolen data to identify the potential locations of guns is a criminal offence and is “unlikely to occur”.

The Guntrader statement

Daniel Bibb at Shooting Sports UK says he’s added extra security to his site in the wake of the Guntrader leak.

“There are a lot of things we all can do,” Daniel says, “like two-step authentication on passwords and stuff. That’s something we’ve implemented after this to try to stop this happening to us.”

Leaks by antis have plagued the fieldsports community for years. Journalist for The Register Gareth Corfield is concerned that this one crosses the line into terrorism. However, he plays down suggestions they will become more common.

“I think it’s less likely,” he says. “We shooters are not a particularly large segment of the population and once something like the Guntrader hack has occurred, the information is out there. That lessens its attractiveness to the hacker mentality. Once it’s been done, it’s been done.

“I think there’s probably going to be some localised spats, mostly related to things going on in the real world – the eternal hunt sabs versus fox hunts and so on, but I think the overall risk is now slightly lower because… there’s nothing there for the criminal elements to crow about and say ‘Look what we’ve achieved’.”

Wiltshire Police are believed to be investigating the leak. An National Crime Agency spokesperson told BASC: “The NCA is aware that information has been published online as a result of a recent data breach which impacted Guntrader. We are working closely with the South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit (SWRCCU), who are leading the criminal investigation, to support the organisation and manage any risk.”

Google confirms it has removed the map data from its servers.

Daniel Bibb owns Shooting Sports UK. Gareth Corfield is security and legal correspondent at The Register

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