Researchers Find Unsecured Server With Info From 1.2 Billion People

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Security researchers have found a database containing information about 1.2 billion people. The database was stored on an unsecured server. The database does not contain sensitive data such as credit card numbers or passwords, but it does contain information about the profiles they have. It also contains telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Bob Diachenko and Vinny Troia found the database. They searched through Shodan for unrelated information and came across the database by accident. The database is contains four terabytes of data in total and contains more than four billion user accounts of 1.2 billion unique people. The records also include 50 million unique phone numbers and 622 million unique email addresses. The data was stored on an Elasticsearch server on the Google Cloud. The researchers called in the FBI after their discovery. Shortly afterwards, the FBI took the server offline.

Four Different Databases

The data seems to come from four different databases that have been put together. Three of them probably originate from a San Francisco data company called People Data Labs. They write on their website that it has a database of 1.5 billion unique users. They sell the data to companies or advertisers.

The fourth database probably comes from Oxydata. The leaked database does not come from them, but probably from one of their customers. “The owner of this server probably used one of our products in combination with other products,” says the owner of People Data Labs to Wired. “Once a customer has access to our data, it is on their servers and those customers are responsible for protecting it.

The large amounts of data are probably aggregated from social media profiles such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Data companies do this kind of aggregation and then sell the data to other companies that can use it to create advertising profiles. According to the researchers, the data can easily be misused to commit identity fraud.


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