7 days ago Techcrunch revealed that independent security researcher Bob Diachenko had found 24 million financial and banking documents exposed to the world as a result of a server security flaw. Considering the type of data exposed – loan documents, sensitive financial and tax documents – this was a significant and very serious breach.
“These documents contained highly sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, names, phones, addresses, credit history and other details which are usually part of a mortgage or credit report,” Diachenko told TechCrunch. “This information would be a gold mine for cyber criminals who would have everything they need to steal identities, file false tax returns, get loans or credit cards.”
The leaked documents were OCR (Optical Character Recognition) files and while the compromised server was immediately shut down once the security flaw was identified there is no telling how many cybercriminals might have already accessed the files.
Who’s at Fault?
After working through the various parties involved it appears that the source of the breach was the machine learning firm OpticsML. Which according to their website (now offline) “will automate the page indexing and data extraction process entirely. Different from traditional OCR companies, Optics Machine Learning trains computers to read and understand documents like a human, enabling an 80% reduction in labor needs alongside higher levels of accuracy so your analysts can focus on higher level tasks.”
Same Documents Released AGAIN!
In a surprising “you can’t make this stuff up” twist on this already monumental breach, the following day Dianchenko found the original loan documents on an “easy to guess” web address on an Amazon AWS server without so much as simple password protection! Considering that Amazon AWS storage servers have a default privacy setting of “private” it seems that someone either accidentally or consciously set the permissions to public.
While this may not end up being the largest data breach of 2019, with more than 11 months left in the year it surely has secured its place in the top 10 most significant breaches by virtue of the fact that the same information was exposed twice in two different formats on completely different storage networks.
Security On Your Mind?
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